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Friday, June 29, 2012

Law Firm Pursues Cyber Squatter

Gioconda Law Group, the brand protection and anti-counterfeiting law company from New York, has sued Arthur Wesley Kenzie. The latter was accused of cyber-squatting, trademark violation and hacking. The lawsuit in question seeks a permanent injunction and more than $1 million in damages.

Media reports reveal that Kenzey claims to be a member of Cyber Warfare and Russian Cybercrime Hacking and Information Warfare organizations. However, what appears to have caught the law firm’s attention is that Arthur Wesley Kenzie had registered a domain name GiocondoLaw.com, which is a misspelling of their official GiacondaLaw.com.

The defendant has created fake e-mail accounts in order to intentionally receive private e-mails originally addressed to the companies’ lawyers and staff. According to the court papers, the law firm said it sent a number of test e-mail messages to find out if they were delivered to the misspelled e-mail addresses, and indeed, they were received by active mailboxes.

Arthur Wesley Kenzie was rumbled after a complaint to the Internet Registrar exposed him. It appeared that he has also been collecting misspelled e-mails originally intended for a lot of international corporations without their knowledge or permission. The list included such giants as MasterCard, NewsCorp, McDonalds and McAfee.

Meanwhile, it’s not the first time Kenzie has problems with the law – it turned out that he had been found guilty of cyber-squatting before. He was trying to argue in that case against Lockheed Martin that he was doing a research about Lockheed’s email vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, the panel that handles domain name disputes decided that his efforts were motivated by bad faith to extort cash and that he himself had created the vulnerabilities to research, hoping to offer services to the Complainant afterwards.

Apple’s Co-Founder Met MegaUpload’s Owner

Steve Wozniak, known as the co-founder of Apple and just a good guy, met up with the creative industry’s public enemy number one, Kim Dotcom. Perhaps, he got on the death list of the entertainment industry after this.

It has been known for a while now that Kim Dotcom is going to launch a new digital music service, saying that it will “unchain” musicians and allow them get most of the profits. Many industry observers agreed that it was a very brave move – to start a new anti-creative industry business when being wanted by the United States of America over alleged criminal copyright infringements, along with money laundering and cyber crime.

Kim Dotcom said that Steve Wozniak was a really great person and a supporter who had been helping MegaUpload users get their content back. He wasn’t the only celebrity to support the cyberlocker – Dotcom had plenty of high-profile support earlier, including Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian, and Intel's Will.i.am.

The Dotcom’s plan is to launch an online service called MegaBox. He described it as a cloud-based music service, which he has been developing until MegaUpload was closed down. The peculiarity of this music service will be that it will purportedly share 90% of revenue with the musicians. This approach seemed interesting to Steve Wozniak, who flew all the way to New Zealand to meet the MegaUpload creator.

The creative industry observers made a conclusion that Wozniak wants to help the cyberlocker members get their seized content back from the American Government. In response, the government claimed that it might allow hundreds of thousands of users to get their non-infringing content back, but not for free.

UK Neo-Nazis Squeeze Cash from ISPs

British extremist thugs turned out to use YouTube’s revenue-sharing system to get cash from many companies, including Virgin Media, BT and O2, without their knowledge. Such groups as Blood& Honor or Combat 18, while lacking opposable thumbs but considering themselves racially superior, were benefiting from the automatic addition of advertisements to their videos uploaded to YouTube.

According to the agreements included in to the Adsense program, YouTube users are allowed to post non-copyrighted videos to benefit from advertisements on the page. The case is paid to the uploader of the video, and Neo-Nazis have used this aspect of the search giant’s business model to get cash for buying weapons, server space and their printing bills.

Google has been told and removed the videos in question, but there’s no indication that the company has put in place any protection to prevent such cases in the future. Their videos aimed at getting support by inciting hatred against minority and ethnic groups, hoping that people would support such kind of thing and so wouldn’t notice that the kind of people who incite such rubbish are the kind of people no-one would want to meet in a dark ally.

Of course, all that racial incitement is against the rules of the streaming service, but since YouTube doesn’t screen the videos, it requires people to flag inappropriate content. Meanwhile, Combat 18 members aren’t interested in flagging the videos, so they get repeated viewings. Worse still, if non-copyrighted video proves quite popular, its uploader is invited to join Google’s partner program and become known and loved by the international giant.

In Germany they take this kind of crime very seriously, and took a look into the YouTube account of one of the National Socialist Underground members who was arrested this past February. The individual was suspected in the case of the murder of ten Turkish immigrants in a series of racist killings throughout a decade. It is believed that David Copeland, the London nail bomber, and Anders Breivik, responsible for the 2011 Norway attacks, had received support from Internet communities.

Unsurprisingly, Virgin Media was a bit upset that Beardie’s advertisements were associated with neo-Nazi material. The company’s representative said in the interview that they had a strict policy on its advertisement placement and therefore were concerned about adverts appearing against unrelated and unsuitable videos uploaded to YouTube.

Ex Employee Spills 'Sex, Sleaze And Secrets' Of Facebook


Facebook, which is supposed to be one of the most dynamic companies in the world, was deeply sexist and stuck in a 1950s mentality that was a cross between a frat house and 'Mad Men' until recently, a new book by a former senior staff member has claimed.
Katherine Losse, who worked for Facebook between 2005 and 2010, claims that female workers at the social network were propositioned for threesomes or given crude insults like 'I want to put my teeth in your ass' in 'The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network'.
Lower ranking employees, who were invariably female, were treated like "second class help" and banned from a conference unless they worked as coat checkers whilst there.
Meanwhile in between toga parties and late night 'hackathons', male engineers raced skateboards around desks as if they were in the X Games.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckberg has been compared to Napoleon and branded a 'little emperor' who created a company where his staff could 'idol worship' him.
On his 22nd birthday female workers were even asked to wear a T-shirt with his face on it in his honour.
Losse was employee number 51 and worked her way up from customer relations to a senior marketing role before becoming the speechwriter for Zuckerberg.
At its core, she claims that Facebook is all about creating a 'popular techno frat that didn't exist at Stanford or Harvard' where men can engage in endless competition with each other.
"The older men in the office could be unbridled in their wide ranging desires for sex and attention as the youngest ones," the Daily mail quoted her as writing.
"One of the few married engineers on the team was known by his female colleagues (after he had made several unwelcome propositions to them) to invite lower ranking women at the company to have threesomes with him...
"...When a female employee reported being told by a male co-worker in the lunch line that her backside looked tasty - "I want to put my teeth in your ass" was what the co-worker said - Mark asked (it was hard to tell whether it was with faux or genuine naivete): 'What does that even mean?" she wrote.
During an away trip to Las Vegas a group of Facebook engineers filmed themselves inviting girls up to their table in a club then shouting "Leave, you're not pretty enough!" when they didn't like them.
The 2007 'F8' conference in San Francisco was open only technical employees but Facebook relented on everyone else - so long as they carried out coat checking duties whilst there.
This meant lower paid employees who were invariably female were treated like 'second class help', Losse writes.
The year before Facebook had offered its staff a $1,000 a month subsidy to live within a mile of the office in the belief that it would make them happier.
But until there was an outcry this was only offered to engineers on 80,000 dollars a year salaries.
Customer service workers, which included the few women who worked for the company, were told they could not have it even though they were on just 30,000 dollars a year.
"The company's entire human resources architecture was constructed on the reactionary model of an office from the 1950s in which men with so-called masculine qualities (being technical, breaking things, moving fast) was idealised as brilliant and visionary whilst everyone else (particularly the nontechnical employees on the customer support team who were mostly female and sometime, unlike the white and Asian engineering team, black) were assumed to be duller, incapable of quick and intelligent thought. It was like Mad Men but real and happening the current moment, as if in repudiation of fifty years of social progress...," Losse wrote.
"...Facebook it seemed wanted to have it all: to be the new and scrappy kid on the block and have the feel of an old boys' club that had been around forever," she added.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Phone That Transforms Into A Tablet

The Asus Padfone lets you turn your phone into a tablet and your tablet into a laptop


video

Google Goes Up Against Amazon, Apple With Nexus Tablet


 Google Inc will sell its first tablet from mid-July for $199, hoping to replicate its smartphone success in a hotly contested market now dominated by Amazon.com Inc's Kindle Fire and Apple Inc's iPad.
By taking a greater role in the tablet market, Google hopes to ensure that its various online services remain front-and-center to consumers amid a changing technology landscape in which tablets by Apple and Amazon are increasingly becoming gateways to the Web and Web-based content such as movies and music.
Google's maiden entry in the tablet market, which will also see the advent of Microsoft Corp's Surface this year, could also help accelerate development of tablet-specific applications for its Android operating software -- a key factor that has helped popularize Apple's iPad, analysts say.
The "Nexus 7" tablet, built by and co-branded with Taiwan's Asus <2357.TW>, was one of several gadgets unveiled at its annual developers' conference on Wednesday, as the Internet search and advertising leader dips its toe into the intensively competitive consumer arena.
The announcement of the new tablet comes a month after Google acquired its own hardware-making capabilities with the $12.5 billion acquisition of smartphone maker Motorola Mobility. But Motorola, which Google has said it will run as a separate business, was absent from most the new products and services showcased at the event.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrated Google Glass, a futuristic-looking eye-glass-computer that can live-stream events, record, and perform computing tasks. The device will be available to U.S.-based developers early next year for $1,500.
And it unveiled the Nexus Q - a $300 device with a built-in amplifier that lets users stream content from Android devices onto their TVs.
But the Nexus tablet hogged the spotlight. Sold initially only on the Google Play online store, its $199 price tag and 7-inch stature is aimed squarely at the Fire, but the Nexus has a front-facing camera while Amazon's tablet does not.
Analysts consider the Fire a window into Amazon.com's trove of online content rather than an iPad rival, given the $499 that Apple asks for a device with a "retina" display that far outstrips it in terms of resolution.
Google can similarly use the Nexus 7 to connect to its own online offerings, which include YouTube and Google Play, the name of its online store where it sells digital music, movies and games. It will go after more cost-conscious users who might shun the pricier iPad.
"Nexus 7 is an ideal device for reading books. The form factor and weight are just right," said Chris Yerga, Google director of engineering for Android.
Google said it will offer buyers of the Nexus 7 a $25 credit to spend at the Google Play store and it showed off several media-centric capabilities, such as a new magazine reading app.
"They all but called it a Kindle Fire killer. They're clearly gunning for that No. 2 spot behind Apple's iPad that is currently occupied by Kindle," said Altimeter Group analyst Chris Silva. "But the con is they do not yet have a footprint in people's minds and wallets as the go-to place to purchase and consume media."
JELLY BEANS
Google has partnered with smartphone makers to develop Nexus-banded smartphones for several years, providing a showcase product that delivers Google's ideal vision for a device based on its Android software.
Extending the Nexus concept to tablets should similarly establish a model that other hardware makers can emulate, resulting in a more a competitive and uniform line of Android tablets to market, say analysts.
Shares in Google gained 0.8 percent to $569.37 in afternoon trade.
The Nexus will feature the new 4.1 "Jelly Bean" version of Google's software, as well as a front-facing camera, a 1280x800 resolution screen, and an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor.
Google's free Android software is the No. 1 operating system for smartphones, with about 1 million Android devices getting activated every day
But it has struggled to compete with Apple's iPad in the market for tablets, largely because it lags far behind Apple and Amazon in terms of available content and tablet-specific applications, such as games.
Meanwhile, Apple has increasingly moved to reduce its dependency on Google services on its devices. Earlier this month it unveiled its own mapping software, which will replace Google maps as the default mapping service in the next version of its mobile operating system.
And Amazon's Kindle Fire, while based on Google's open-source Android software, features a customized interface that does not use many Google services.
Executives showcased the new 4.1 "Jelly Bean" version of Android operating system on Wednesday. The new software delivers faster performance, according to the company, and new features such as "voice search."
"That range of services will be the secret to stitching together this rag-tag fleet of Android gadgets into a platform that can compete with Apple for minutes of users' attention rather than premium device dollars," said Forrester analyst James McQuivey.
The tablet's limited availability - executives said they had no plans yet to expand distribution beyond Google's own site - may curtail initial sales growth.
Google briefly sold a specially designed Android smartphone - the Nexus One - directly to consumers in 2010, but closed the online store after four months saying it had not lived up to expectations.
But it's the lack of "native" applications - software designed with a larger tablet in mind, rather than ported from smartphones - that is the Nexus' biggest impediment for now.
"Unless you have a strong app offering, for a consumer it is a piece of glass that does what a phone does on a larger screen," Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Gartner Research.

Google Unveils Nexus 7 Tablet



Google Inc will sell its first tablet from mid-July for $199, hoping to replicate its smartphone success in a hotly contested market now dominated by Amazon.com Inc's Kindle Fire and Apple Inc's iPad.




Hugo Barra, director of product management of Google, unveils Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco

Google Inc will sell its first tablet from mid-July for $199, hoping to replicate its smartphone success in a hotly contested market now dominated by Amazon.com Inc's Kindle Fire and Apple Inc's iPad.By taking a greater role in the tablet market, Google hopes to ensure that its various online services remain front-and-center to consumers amid a changing technology landscape in which tablets by Apple and Amazon are increasingly becoming gateways to the Web and Web-based content such as movies and music.


Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet

Google's maiden entry in the tablet market, which will also see the advent of Microsoft Corp's Surface this year, could also help accelerate development of tablet-specific applications for its Android operating software -- a key factor that has helped popularize Apple's iPad, analysts say.


Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet

The "Nexus 7" tablet, built by and co-branded with Taiwan's Asus, was one of several gadgets unveiled at its annual developers' conference on Wednesday, as the Internet search and advertising leader dips its toe into the intensively competitive consumer arena.The announcement of the new tablet comes a month after Google acquired its own hardware-making capabilities with the $12.5 billion acquisition of smartphone maker Motorola Mobility. But Motorola, which Google has said it will run as a separate business, was absent from most the new products and services showcased at the event


Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet

Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrated Google Glass, a futuristic-looking eye-glass-computer that can live-stream events, record, and perform computing tasks. The device will be available to U.S.-based developers early next year for $1,500.And it unveiled the Nexus Q - a $300 device with a built-in amplifier that lets users stream content from Android devices onto their TVs.But the Nexus tablet hogged the spotlight. Sold initially only on the Google Play online store, its $199 price tag and 7-inch stature is aimed squarely at the Fire, but the Nexus has a front-facing camera while Amazon's tablet does no


Hugo Barra, director of product management of Google, unveils Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco

Analysts consider the Fire a window into Amazon.com's trove of online content rather than an iPad rival, given the $499 that Apple asks for a device with a "retina" display that far outstrips it in terms of resolution.Google can similarly use the Nexus 7 to connect to its own online offerings, which include YouTube and Google Play, the name of its online store where it sells digital music, movies and games. It will go after more cost-conscious users who might shun the pricier iPad


An attendee uses a Google Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco

Nexus 7 is an ideal device for reading books. The form factor and weight are just right," said Chris Yerga, Google director of engineering for Android.Google said it will offer buyers of the Nexus 7 a $25 credit to spend at the Google Play store and it showed off several media-centric capabilities, such as a new magazine reading app


Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet

"They all but called it a Kindle Fire killer. They're clearly gunning for that No. 2 spot behind Apple's iPad that is currently occupied by Kindle," said Altimeter Group analyst Chris Silva. "But the con is they do not yet have a footprint in people's minds and wallets as the go-to place to purchase and consume media."
Text Courtesy


An attendee uses Google Map on a Google Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco

An attendee uses Google Map on a Google Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, 


Attendees interact with a Google Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco

Attendees interact with a Google Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California June 27, 2012. Google Inc unveiled its first tablet PC on Wednesday, as the Internet company looks to replicate its smartphone success in a tablet market where it faces stiff competition from Apple Inc, Microsoft and Amazon. The "Nexus 7" tablet, built and co-branded in partnership with hardware maker Asus, will be priced starting at $199. 


Vic Gundotra of Google speaks at Google I/O 2012 Conference

Vic Gundotra, director of product management of Google, demonstrates Google+ on the Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, 

Microsoft Disclosed Some Windows Phone 8 Features

Microsoft has recently disclosed some information about its new Windows Phone 8. The new mobile operating system is expected to become its, and Nokia’s, great hope against the Apple and Android onslaught. During the recent Windows Phone Summit, Microsoft detailed a number of important platform changes.

Although the software giant didn’t tell anyone about all the end user features, it confirmed that the new OS will support multi-core chips. Moreover, it seems that Windows Phone 8 could even run on a 64-core machine which is obviously over the top for a phone.

The OS is promised to support WVGA, WXGA, and 720p (800x480, 1280x768, and 1280x720 16:9), with old applications running on the new software as well. The new operating system will also support removable microSD cards and facilitate the attempts of iOS and Android developers to port over their applications and games to Microsoft OS. In addition, Windows Phone 8 will support NFC and the Wallet hub. It will also include Nokia’s built-in mapping technology, which will include turn-by-turn navigation.

From the business point of view and in the attempt to pick up trade from the broke RIM company, the mobiles will have encryption and secure-boot, as well as BitLocker, Device Management, LOB App deployment, and the usual Office applications.

New Microsoft OS will feature a newer Start Screen, allowing users to choose the tile size and customize the colors. The release is scheduled to this fall. Nevertheless, it seems that people who own the Nokia Lumia 900 or other Windows Phone devices won’t be affected, because new OS won’t run on older systems. In other words, this would be the kiss of death for everyone who purchased a Nokia in 2012, because they will have to throw their phone away to get the new operating system.

In response, the representatives of Microsoft claimed that the company will offer a separate update, Windows Phone 7.8. The latter is promised to give the early adopters some similar functionality. Still, the current situation means that nobody in their right mind would now purchase a Nokia Lumia 900 until after the new system is released. This might disappoint Nokia a bit, we guess… Thus far, neither of the companies commented this situation, but they must understand what is happening.

Google Won’t Pay Oracle

Finally, Oracle has lost its big Java case against the search giant with Google being ordered to pay the company nothing for their efforts. Press reports confirm that Google was told that it has 2 weeks to file an application for Oracle to cover its legal fees in the case.

Of course, Oracle wasn’t happy with the decision and was going to appeal. However, to be fair to Google, the expected court ruling was obvious because Judge William Alsup revealed he used to be a programmer. The first time in the world the judge knew more about programming than the lawyers representing the parties, so each time they tried to spin something, the judge knew it wasn’t true. Moreover, he realized what impact some of his decisions would have on the programming world.

The entire case was built on the fact that Android used a variant of the Java programming language. At the time Java’s copyrights belonged to Sun, but later Larry Ellison purchased the company. His aim was to gain access to Java’s patents, because it’s one of the most popular programming languages in the world.

So, Oracle believed it could make a claim against Android based on a similarity of APIs between Java and Android. However, the judge knew that APIs are one of the most commonly replicated pieces of software, and if they were patented then all companies engaged in writing software would have to pay a fortune of licensing fees to the original makers.

The judge knew that people would have to pay even if they did their operations in absolutely different ways. To make it clear to everyone, one could compare it to claiming that a full stop should be patented and everyone using the one would have to pay up.

Oracle originally claimed $6.1 billion in penalties from the search giant, but was later forced to lower that demand to only $226 million. In response, Google offered the company $28 million to silence, but Oracle rejected the offer. As a result, the Judge lowered that amount to $150,000 and then to nothing, with Oracle potentially having to pay Google instead.

Anyway, it was a very silly case, and the fact that neither party could really baffle the judge with jargon made it even sillier. There were moments during the trial when the Oracle representatives tried to convince the judge that a piece of code was vital and original, but after the judge took a look at it, he said that no, it wasn't

Entertainment Industry Disabled Fast Forward

Time Warner Cable has received a patent for its innovation: it disabled fast-forward on digital video recorders. Charles Hasek made this invention in order to stop people from skipping commercials built into the video. The entire idea is based on the assumption that the company is able to tell advertisers that instead of fast forwarding playback through the commercials they can make sure that the consumers are really watching. As such, the advertisers should be paying for commercials more willingly.

However, this approach can’t guarantee that the consumer won’t turn off the program because of too many commercials, or just go to the loo. Still, a lot of advertisers are ready to pay a fortune for such a gimmick.

In the meantime, the patented technology has the opposite function of the Hopper multiroom DVR, recently launched by Dish Network. Dish has designed a method to automatically remove all advertisements from prime time programming of the Big Four broadcast networks. That’s what the consumers would love the most.

Time Warner Cable has already disabled the fast-forward function in a number of the digital cable products provided to its subscribers. However, the industry experts doubt that the company would bring in the advertisement system in the nearest future. So, the users who are annoyed with plenty of commercials will have no other choice than just leave and switch to DirecTV, Verizon or any other multichannel provider which distributes DVRs allowing the consumers to skip the adverts. However, it might offer it as an extra cheaper service in order to force consumers to purchase the content with advertising installed.

Britain Should Jail Hackers Instead of Using Antivirus

The researchers from the University of Cambridge have recently made an interesting suggestion, saying that it would be much better for the United Kingdom to use the money it spends on antivirus software on more resources to policing the web instead.

We have already mentioned the results of the study titled “Measuring the cost of cybercrime” and carried out by an international team of scientists from the University of Cambridge. The results of the study were the following: the United Kingdom spends $1 billion on attack prevention and clean-up, of which $170 million is spent on antivirus. At the same time, the government only spent $15 million to online law enforcement to catch the hackers.

We can see from the survey that the British lose 10 times that amount to the cybercriminals, so it seems a little light, the researchers claim. Lead author Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory, explained that some police forces think the issue in question is too large to address. However, in reality there are only a few hackers that are guilty of many incidents. Therefore, it would be much more effective to identify those hackers and jail them, than it would be to force the public to fit an anti-phishing toolbar or buy antivirus software.

Perhaps, the researchers are right, but one could have too many questions about the way to identify and catch all the hackers. Meanwhile, Professor Anderson and his colleagues are ready to present their findings in a few days at the Workshop on the Economics of Information Security in Germany. Maybe, they will describe the method in details there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Facebook Wants To Hire This 17-Year-Old But She Hasn't Decided If She Wants The Job


Nive Jayasekar created a mobile app for Home Depot over a weekend and won $10,500—and got an offer to work at Facebook.
She's only 17.
The Social-Loco conference organized a hackathon event held June 16-17, sponsored by big brands like Home Depot.
Jayasekar entered, drawn by the prizes. She decided to develop a project organizer for the home-improvement chain as a Windows Phone app, because that was a special prize category.
She swept the event with her app, which made it easy for both novices and experienced gardeners to find materials for landscaping projects. (Those were originally separate prize categories; she developed a single app that addressed both audiences.)
But she barely made it to the conference to accept her prizes. After she found out she won, her mom had to drive her to San Francisco.
It was good timing: Because she was late, she got to present her winning app right before Emily White, Facebook's director of mobile partnerships, was due to speak. They met backstage and White offered her a summer internship.
"Nive is amazing and I'm going to be working for her someday," White said at the conference.
But here's the thing, and it tells you everything you need to know about the war for talent in Silicon Valley right now: The recent graduate of Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif., who's headed to Carnegie Mellon University in the fall, wouldn't say whether she'd taken Facebook up on the offer.
"The recruiting process is still going on," she said.
Facebook couldn't comment on where things stood.
Let's review: A 17-year-old just got an internship offer from Facebook, on the spot after winning a programming contest. And she hasn't decided whether she's taking the job yet.
Meanwhile, she's porting the app to Apple's iOS devices and Android smartphones.

Nike Campaign Got Banned on Twitter

Nike has become the first organization in the United Kingdom whose Twitter campaign got banned. The international giant was hauled up in front of the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) when footballers Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere didn’t clarify their tweets were adverts for Nike.

Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere have a sponsorship contract, according to which they promote different campaigns with the brand. Meanwhile, the advertising campaign in question appeared to be a part of a wider marketing push within the frames of the Make It Count advertising strapline.

The footballers tweeted “My resolution – to start the year as a champion and finish it as a champion ... #makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount” (Rooney, 4.37 million followers), and “Jack Wilshere stated in 2012, I will come back for my club – and be ready for my country. #makeitcount.gonike.me/Makeitcount” (Wilshere).

The Advertising Standards Authority took a decision to step in after a member of the public challenged whether these posts were undoubtedly regarded as marketing communications. ASA said they realized that within their sponsorship deal with Nike, the sportsmen had to participate in marketing activities and were asked to suggest something to write in their Twitter. The outfit also understood that the final content of the publications was agreed with the Nike marketing team.

Nevertheless, the Advertising Standards Authority confirmed that it had considered there had been nothing obvious in the posts to show they were Nike marketing communications. The outfit decided that in the absence of any clear indication, like #ad, the tweets are regarded as not obviously identifiable as Nike marketing communications. In other words, such tweets are breaking the code.

As a result, the authority has already banned any repeat of the publications in their current form and it has put the international sportswear giant on notice, demanding it to ensure any further advertising on Twitter is clearly identified.

In response, Nike claimed that the use of its brands in someone’s tweets should be sufficient to alert the followers of Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere that those were commercial messages.

National Security Agency about Personal Privacy

The National Security Agency of the United States has chosen a Joseph Heller approach to addressing the questions about how many people it had been spying upon.

A while ago civil libertarian Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall wrote to the National Security Agency and asked how many people’s personal privacy had been violated due to new counter terrorism powers. However, the agency replied that it would really like to be able to tell the senators, but this would… violate personal privacy!

In other words, in true Joseph Heller style the National Security Agency cannot tell anyone about violations to personal privacy because it would violate the personal privacy of those whose privacy has been violated! Got it? At least, that’s what Charles McCullough said, the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the head of the sixteen American spy agencies. The media reports confirm McCullough claimed that a review of the cases of infringement would also infringe the privacy of American citizens.

Nevertheless, the senators didn’t ask about many details or statistics. For instance, Ron Wyden asked for a ballpark estimate of how many people had been monitored under the new counter terrorism law. After getting the negative reply, he was disappointed that the Inspectors General couldn’t provide the figure.

He explained that if no-one will estimate how many US citizens have had their communications collected under the new legislation, it will be more important that Congress shut that “backdoor searches” loophole in order to keep the government from searching for people’s phone calls and emails without a court warrant.

If you are still unaware, the changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 did relax the standards under which communications with people abroad that passed via the US could be gathered by the spy agency.

The National Security Agency didn’t actually need probable cause to intercept someone’s phone calls, text messages or emails in the country if one of the participants in the communications was “reasonably” believed to locate outside the United States.

Fujitsu Team Cracked New Form of Encryption

An innovative form of encryption, which was expected to become the next best thing when coming to encoding, was recently cracked by a team led by Fujitsu. The team was made up of the representatives of Fujitsu, Kyushu University, and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, coped with a successful cryptanalysis of a 278-digit (923-bit)-long pairing-based cryptography.

Unfortunately for the standard, the encryption in question is currently fast becoming the next best thing, as it was estimated to take hundreds of thousands years to crack. The company admits that the standard was quite tricky to start with and in fact was impossible to break.

Nevertheless, the number crunchers changed their approach and came up with another way to solve the problem. They found out that pairing-based cryptography of that length was very fragile and therefore could be broken in only 5 months. In the official statement, Fujitsu said along with the development of cryptanalytic techniques and machines, cryptanalytic speed also accelerates, while cryptographic security falls.

In the meantime, pairing-based cryptography hadn’t developed much, which made it premature to evaluate its security against a new way of attack. According to Fujitsu team, they used 21 PCs with 252 cores in 5 months. In fact, the cryptanalysis equals to spoofing the authority of the information system administrator.

As such, for the first time ever Fujitsu managed to prove that the cryptography of the parameter wasn’t secure enough and could be cracked in a realistic amount of time. Meanwhile, the key to the problem was a technique optimizing parameter setting, which used computer algebra: a two dimensional search algorithm extended from linear search.

Fujitsu employed more efficient programming techniques to work out an equation from shedloads of information, along with the parallel programming technology. Although it gave Fujitsu a new world record of cryptanalysis, it also had another side and meant the acquisition of valuable information which formed a technical foundation on which to estimate selection of secure encryption, regardless of what that means. As usual, any press release created by PR specialists can only obfuscate instead of illumining.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Western Democracies Continue their Attempts to Filter Google

Google has recently disclosed how many takedown notices the company has got from government agencies. The search engine confessed that it has received over 1,000 requests within 6 months from the governments to take down data from its search results or YouTube video.

Google slammed a so-called alarming trend by governments to try and censor the people. The company published its twice-yearly Transparency Report, saying that the above mentioned requests were aimed at having around 12,000 items overall deleted. This figure was 25% more than during the first 6 months of 2011. This means that the government agencies are getting a taste for censorship.

Google’s senior policy analyst admitted they hoped the rise earlier in 2011 had been a one off, but it appeared that it hadn’t. Plenty of the requests were aimed at silencing political speech. The most interesting part is that they came from Western governments, which are not usually associated with filtering.

Although Google didn’t list anything specific, the search engine still said that it was really surprised by the UK and the US spending most of their time trying to censor websites. The United States was said to be especially bad. The company complained that police prosecutors, courts and other agencies submitted almost 200 requests within the last 6 months of 2011, which doubles the number of the requests submitted in the first 6 months.

Meanwhile, Spain asked Google to take down 270 links to blogs and newspaper articles which criticized public figures, the list including mayors and public prosecutors. However, the search giant said no to that one. In response, a couple months ago the highest court of the country asked the European Court of Justice to find out whether the requests submitted by citizens to removed the links were lawful.

The company admits that in some countries it has no choice but to comply with these requests, because some types of political speech are against the law there. For instance, in Germany Google removed videos from YouTube with Nazi references as those were banned. Another example is Thailand videos that feature the monarch with a seat over his head – they were also removed for being insulting.

Finally, one takedown request came from Canada, where the company was asked by the authorities to remove a YouTube video featuring a citizen having a nintendo on his passport and flushing it down the loo. The search giant said no to this one as well. 

Germany Lost $660 Million in 2011 Due to Music Piracy

Another report on unauthorized downloading meant to victimize the entertainment industry and blame file-sharing claims that the German movie industry lost around $200 million in 2011, while the music industry received a real blow with almost $660 million in lost revenues.
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The Berlin-Brandenburg Medienboard, known for endorsing media companies and the video game association G.A.M.E., supported the research, which was carried through by Berlin-based House of Research.

The research scrutinized different academic files with data on unauthorized download and streaming of copyrighted digital content and the impact it had on sales. The study mainly focused on the music and movie industry, while also taking a look on the games industry. However, the results were inconclusive because of the insufficient number of relevant surveys.

The results of the study say that German pirates have streamed and downloaded 185,000,000 movies illegally last year, which is 6% of the industry’s overall annual revenues. It turned out that ever since Kino.to was closed down and its operators and owners were imprisoned, film rentals increased by 29% the very next week, reaching 41% a year ago. However, in a few weeks things got back to what they used to be, because a copycat file-sharing service emerged.

Despite the fact that the House of Research does recognize the positive impact of piracy, it believes that it is too small to count. It admits that the industry now has to find reasonable solutions.

The discussions over Internet piracy and copyright legislation reached new levels in the country last year, particularly after the German Pirate Party had brought a new perspective in the political arena.

Julian Assange Hides in Embassy

WikiLeaks founder seems to have broken his bail conditions and ran to Ecuador’s embassy in London to ask for asylum. In other words, he didn’t actually care about people who raised £200,000 bail for him and legged it when he had the opportunity.

Julian Assange is currently trying to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime accusations. He believes that if he is extradited there, the Swedes will hand him over to the United States, where he will face spying charges. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister announced that his country would weigh the request from Assange. WikiLeaks founder has been fighting extradition to Sweden for a year and a half. He was accused of rape and sexual assault by his two female former volunteers.

It is clear why Assange picked Ecuador – this country has a leftist and anti-Washington president. While Julian might miff the US over the move, he has also embarrassed the UK government and may well have caused his wealthy backers to lose their bail money. In addition, the risk remains that Ecuador might not want to help him – the country invited WikiLeaks founder a few years ago to seek residency, but then it quickly backed away from the proposal, accusing Assange of breaking American laws.

Today Ecuador claims that Julian’s application for protective asylum shouldn’t be regarded as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the UK or Sweden.

Although Ecuador has an extradition treaty with the United States, it doesn’t cover political charges, so the country has to satisfy itself that the charges against WikiLeaks founder are political rather than criminal. However, this might appear not that easy, because Assange hasn’t been charged with a political crime. Meanwhile, Assange moaned that his native country of Australia had refused to defend him, though the country promised to continue assisting Assange, since it opposed any extradition of its citizens on charges which carry the death penalty.

WikiLeaks founder fears extradition to the United States, where espionage and treason are punished with the death penalty, while Sweden doesn’t have the death penalty. Moreover, neither Sweden nor the US has even charged him with treason or spying.

As for the attorney of the plaintiffs, Assange’s latest move was no surprise for him, but he expected Ecuador to reject the request.

London Got Fast and Free Tube Wi-Fi

A few days back London home broadband seems to run as slow as the trains: free Tube station Wi-Fi was turned on for the Olympics, so the citizens of the UK capital may soon prefer to go underground to get a good connection speed.

Earlier in June, Wi-Fi hotspots were turned on at many London Tube stations: Euston, Oxford Circus, Kings Cross, and a number of other busy stations now provide temporarily free Internet from Virgin Broadband.

The survey, conducted into the download speeds of various stations reveals that commuters and tourists crammed onto platforms are enjoying even faster speeds than they would at home. Indeed, the average download speed for the Tube is estimated at 12.7Mb, which is undoubtedly fast enough to watch Euro 2012 when avoiding pickpockets, as well as some live Olympics footage when waiting for one of the London’s ambling trains to turn up.

As such, the tourists over for the Olympics might be impressed, while the speeds they are offered compare quite favorable to that of the average British household, which can only boast a meagre 7.6Mb. For instance, Euston station offers an average download of 14.59Mb, and Victoria can offer an average upload speed of 13.53Mb. However, no-one knows whether such speeds remain available after legions of Olympics fans turn up.

Regardless of some dissent from the natives, the experts believe that the ability to use the web at stations, though not on the Tube itself, will be quite popular among tourists. In addition, while the tourist-targeting Wi-Fi may remain free for a month, people living in London will have to shell out for the service once the Games come to an end. 

British Government Will Scan Envelopes

Along with emails, the UK government decided to control snail mail as well. The country’s Communications Data Bill, which was especially designed for electronics, might also be used to monitor the snail mail.

The suggested legislation means that Internet service providers will have to store information on all emails passing through their systems, but the matter is that this provision is worded in such a way that it could force the Royal Mail to do the same thing. If it does, this will remove the established belief that the post is sacrosanct at least without a court order.

Media reports claim the Home Office knows that the suggested legislation covers this part, but yet has no plans to force the Royal Mail to scan paper mail. However, this is still a bit worrying: the experts start to believe that if the Communications Bill gets through, it’ll be under some bogus pretext that its aim is to save the world from terrorists.

According to the Home Office, the draft bill would only maintain existing powers over postal data and only information about mail, not its contents, would be retained. It means that the Post Office would have to scan every envelope and store it for a year.

According to the Communications Bill, the Royal Mail, along with other postal services, would be asked to retain whatever written on the outside of the items sent for 12 months and provide them to the police, security services and HM Revenue and Customs upon request. The only question is how this could help in the spying market. It suggests that each letter should have data on the outside about who and where it comes from.

This could work if each letter or parcel was signed “Blofeld, C/- Volcanic Island lair, Scotland”. However, criminal capers don’t usually involve such wholesale giveaways, and a pedophile won’t mark his post with a sticker “contains snaps of kids being raped” on the envelope either. Nor the parcels containing anthrax would warn about their contents or wear the code of the terrorist who sent them.

The civil liberties groups called this bill a “snooper's charter”, while it is strangely a bankruptcy charter as well. The suggested legislation also includes provision helping postal services and other communications providers install new equipment to comply with the legislation. This “help” is estimated at £1.8 billion over the next decade

Britain Overspends on Antivirus

The UK government has sponsored a study, which revealed that the country spends too much on antivirus software trying to prevent cybercrime. However, this point of view is considered too simplistic by other security experts.

According to the study conducted by the University of Cambridge, the money spent on preventing cyber attacks is out of proportion to the cost of the threat itself. The report, recognized as the first systematic estimate of the direct and indirect costs of cyber crime, says that the government should spend more on apprehending criminals instead of anticipating the events.

Earlier reports into the cost of cybercrime have been deemed wide of the mark. A Cabinet Office backed research revealed that Internet criminality is hitting the British economy to the tune of £27 billion annually. However, this figure has been disputed by industry figures.

According to the report, the Internet scams cost UK citizens on average a few pennies a day. In other words, the United Kingdom spends $1 billion on fighting threats annually, of which $170 million are spent on antivirus software. This figure differs a lot from $15 million spent on law enforcement. As such, the conclusion everyone can draw from this is to “spend less on defense and more on policing”.

However, the MPs don’t think so and call to invest more in cyber crime awareness campaigns like Get Safe Online, developed to stop online crime becoming a problem in the first place.

Security experts at Sophos believe that both prevention and policing are necessary. They point out that it is too simplistic just to stop spending on antivirus and get some cops instead of it. They think that the country needs to invest in fighting cyber crime on the legal level and protecting users’ PCs. And it’s not an “either” “or” – both of these things are needed. Everyone who goes on the Internet without antivirus software and surfs the web will undoubtedly understand soon that they need some antivirus.

Meanwhile, the experts believe that police time spent fighting cyber crime is admirable, but it’s not easy to provide immediate protections against it. In reality, such investigations may take years to collect all the evidence and bring people to justice, and in the meantime users should have to do something else to protect their PCs as well.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

RIM Launches BlackBerry Porsche P'9981 At Rs 1.39 Lakh


Porsche Design and Research In Motion launched a new BlackBerry Porsche Design P'9981 smartphone in India. The BlackBerry Porsche P'9981 is priced at Rs 1.39 lakh.



Porsche Design and Research In Motion launched a new BlackBerry Porsche Design P'9981 smartphone in India. The BlackBerry Porsche P'9981 is priced at a cool Rs 1.39 lakh


The customized Porsche P'9981 comes with an exclusive Porsche Design UI and a bespoke Wikitude World Browser augmented reality app experience


The smartphone also includes a premium, exclusive PIN that easily identifies the user as holder of a Porsche P'9981 smartphone from BlackBerry


The Porsche P'9981 is built on a performance driven platform that features a 1.2 GHz processor and Liquid Graphics technology, which enables a highly responsive touch experience with incredibly fast and smooth graphics

It also features HD video recording, 24-bit high resolution graphics, advanced sensors enabling new augmented reality applications, and built-in support for Near Field Communications

The Porsche P'9981 comes with 8 GB of on-board memory, expandable to up to 40 GB with a microSD card.


The new Porsche P'9981 also comes with the latest BlackBerry OS that delivers a highly refined and integrated suite of phone, email, messaging and social apps.


It includes a next generation BlackBerry browser, which provides a fast, fluid web browsing experience that is among the best in the industry, and comes with a number of pre-loaded applications that keep users connected


The Porsche P'9981 smartphone from BlackBerry is a perfect culmination of style and functionality," said Sunil Dutt, Managing Director for India at RIM. "The exceptional look and feel of this modern smartphone inspires and we are pleased to be launching the P'9981 in India



Google Released Chrome Version for Windows 8

Google Inc. has recently released a version of its Chrome browser for Windows 8, but the experts point out that the developers ignored many Microsoft requirements. Surprisingly enough, this made the browser very attractive for users.

Currently, both Google and Mozilla are developing their versions of Chrome and Firefox browsers for Windows 8. However, the Metro-style Chrome attracted more attention from the reviewers, as it appears to be too different from IE 10, a default browser in the operating system. The most important part here is that Chrome browser ignored a few Metro design ideas which Microsoft has been actively pushing.

The software giant demands that when the users right-click or press “Windows key + Z”, an app bar should pop up at the bottom of the screen. However, Google decided to keep a traditional menu bar in the top right corner which the user can click for settings and app changes. In addition, it also uses standard tabbed browsing.

Just as Internet Explorer 10, Chrome browser also includes Flash Player built into the browser to allow users view all kinds of Flash content. In the meantime, Google stuffs up Microsoft’s cunning plan and ignores an approved list of websites and Flash content. In other words, Chrome plays the lot.

The industry experts point out that there’s something that can make Chrome more popular on Metro. The matter is that the browser is standing in a half way house between the new approach pushed by Windows 8, which is driving users towards, and the older approach that most people are used to and comfortable with. According to the experts’ estimation, this could make Chrome popular in the short term while users work their way around Metro.