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UK Announces "Cyber Strategy"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '11 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's you-can't-handle-freedom department:
concealment writes "The UK government has announced a "cyber strategy" outlining its plans to make the UK a safe place to do business online. Not limited to merely defending against attacks, the strategy outlines plans to take aggressive, proactive online action against security threats and criminals. Stricter enforcement of Internet usage restrictions and recruitment of volunteer 'cyber-specials' are also planned."

An interesting bit from the article: "In promising to undertake aggressive, military cyberattacks, the UK will be following in the footsteps of the US and Israel — together the presumed creators of the Stuxnet worm — and China, a nation regularly accused of infiltrating and compromising both private and government organizations to extract information."

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Google Throws /. Under Bus To Snag Patent
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '11 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's google-patents-meta-moderation department:
theodp writes "Before Danny Hillis and Bran Ferren invented Google's newly-patented system for 'Delegating Authority to Evaluate Content', Google says users looking for content evaluation websites were condemned to the likes of Amazon.com and Slashdot. From the patent: 'Many sites found on the World Wide Web allow users to evaluate content found within the site. The Slashdot Web site (www.slashdot.org) allows users to "mod" comments recently posted by other users. Based on this information obtained from the users, the system determines a numerical score for each comment ranging from 1 to 5.' The problem with sites like Slashdot, Google told the USPTO, is that 'because there is no restriction on the users that may participate, the reliability of the ratings is correspondingly diminished.' Commissioning a small number of trusted evaluators or editors would increase the reliability of the evaluations, Google notes, but wouldn't allow nearly as much content to be evaluated. Google's solution? Allow trusted evaluators to transfer a 'quantity of authority' to like-minded 'contributing authorities', who in turn designate and delegate authority to additional like-minded contributing authorities. Think Microsoft Outlook 97 Delegate Access meets Slashdot Karma Points, and you've got the general idea!"

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Groupon Not Doing So Well On Wall Street
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '11 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bad-business-idea-is-bad department:
bdking writes "Shares of the daily-deals site were up Tuesday, but Groupon's ride on Wall Street since going public in early November has been almost all downhill. And there's no evident catalyst to reverse the slide."

From the looks of it Groupon is blowing all of its money attempting to expand in the face of ever growing competition in a market with trivial start up costs.

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Why America Doesn't Need More Tech Giants Like Apple
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '11 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-the-other-fruits-are-trademarked department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Optimists says that if only America produced more companies like Apple and Amazon and Google and Facebook, the country's economic problems would be fixed — America could retrain its vast, idle construction-and-manufacturing workforce, and our unemployment and inequality problems would be solved. But Apple's $1 billion new data center in North Carolina has been a disappointing development for many residents, who can't comprehend how expensive facilities stretching across hundreds of acres can create only 50 new jobs, especially after thousands of positions in the region have been lost to cheaper foreign competition. In fact, Apple actually exemplifies some of the reasons why the U.S. has such huge unemployment and inequality problems: 'Digital' businesses like Apple employ far fewer people than traditional manufacturing businesses, Apple's 60,000+ jobs are not just in the U.S. — they're spread around the world. Companies like Apple 'create amazing products and vast shareholder wealth, but they don't spread this wealth around as much as earlier industrial giants did,' writes Henry Blodget. 'So, yes, we should celebrate the success of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. But we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking they're going to solve our unemployment or inequality problems.'"

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Android Dev Demonstrates CarrierIQ Phone Logging Software On Video
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '11 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hand-in-cookie-jar department:
Token_Internet_Girl writes with a followup to last week's news about Android developer Trevor Eckhart, who was researching software from CarrierIQ, installed on millions of cellphones, that secretly logged a variety of user information — from button presses to text message contents to browsing data. CarrierIQ tried to silence Eckhart, but later backtracked. Now, Eckhart has posted a video demonstration of CarrierIQ's logging software. From the article:
"The company denies its software logs keystrokes. Eckhart’s 17-minute video clearly undercuts that claim. ... The video shows the software logging Eckhart's online search of 'hello world.' That's despite Eckhart using the HTTPS version of Google, which is supposed to hide searches from those who would want to spy by intercepting the traffic between a user and Google. ...the video shows the software logging each number as Eckhart fingers the dialer. 'Every button you press in the dialer before you call,' he says on the video, 'it already gets sent off to the IQ application.'"

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Is the Time Finally Right For Hybrid Hard Drives?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's half-man-half-machine department:
a_hanso writes "Hard drives that combine a traditional spinning platter for mass storage and solid state flash memory for frequently accessed data have always been an interesting concept. They may be slower than SSDs, but not by much, and they are a lot cheaper gigabyte-for-gigabyte. CNET's Harry McCracken speculates on how soon such drives may become mainstream: 'So why would the new Momentus be more of a mainstream hit than its predecessor? Seagate says that it's 70 percent faster than its earlier hybrid drive and three times quicker than a garden-variety, non-hybrid disk. Its benchmarks for cold boots and application launches show the new drive to be just a few seconds slower than a SSD. Or, in some cases, a few seconds faster. In the end, hybrid drives are compromises, neither as cheap as ordinary drives — you can get a conventional 750GB Momentus for about $150 — nor as fast and energy-efficient as SSDs.'"

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Latest Humble Bundle Comes With Uplink Source Code
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's linux-still-in-the-lead department:
SharkLaser writes "The latest Humble Bundle comes with four great indie games from Introversion. Included in the pack are Uplink, Darwinia, DEFCON and Multiwinia. Bonus games include Aquaria, Crayon Physics Deluxe and the recently added Dungeons of Dredmor. Introversion also showcases some of their prototypes, like Subversion City Generator which demonstrates procedural generation of complex city environments, and Voxel Tech Demo for showing destroyable environments using voxel technology. Hackers and open source programmers around the world should also celebrate — Introversion will release source code for their games Darwinia, Multiwinia, DEFCON, and most importantly, Uplink, the legendary hacking simulation that is one of its kind."

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Australian Federal Court Ends Ban On Samsung Galaxy Tab Sales
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's apple-invented-the-kangaroo department:
New submitter Dedokta writes "The Australian Federal Court has overturned the injunction placed on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and ordered Apple to pay court costs. Apple has applied for an appeal with the Supreme Court, but Samsung is now free to sell the Galaxy Tab within Australia. Samsung is not off the hook yet, however; the full case to see if they have indeed infringed upon Apple patents is still to be heard early next year."

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Obama Orders Federal Agencies To Digitize All Records
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-90s department:
Lucas123 writes "President Obama this week issued a directive to all federal agencies to upgrade records management processes from paper-based systems that have been around since President Truman's administration to electronic records systems with Web 2.0 capabilities. Agencies have four months to come up with plans to improve their records keeping. Part of the directive is to have the National Archives and Records Administration store all long-term records and oversee electronic records management efforts in other agencies. Unfortunately, NARA doesn't have a stellar record itself (PDF) in rolling out electronic records projects. Earlier this year, due to cost overruns and project mismanagement, NARA announced it was ending a 10-year effort to create an electronic records archive."

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Lightning-made Waves In Earth's Atmosphere Leak Into Space
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 06:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's great-now-the-fithp-will-find-us department:
TheNextCorner sends this quote from NASA:
"At any given moment about 2,000 thunderstorms roll over Earth, producing some 50 flashes of lightning every second. Each lightning burst creates electromagnetic waves that begin to circle around Earth, captured between Earth's surface and a boundary about 60 miles up. Some of the waves – if they have just the right wavelength – combine, increasing in strength, to create a repeating atmospheric heartbeat known as Schumann resonance. ... NASA's Vector Electric Field Instrument aboard the U.S. Air Force's Communications/Navigation Outage Forecast System satellite has detected Schumann resonance from space. This comes as a surprise, since current models of Schumann resonance predict these waves should be caged at lower altitude, between the ground and a layer of Earth's atmosphere called the ionosphere."

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How Publishers Are Cutting Their Own Throats With eBook DRM
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 05:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-not-even-that-sharp department:
An anonymous reader writes "Sci-fi author Charlie Stross has written a post about how the Big Six book publishing companies have painted themselves into a corner in the rapidly growing ebook industry. Between user-unfriendly DRM and the Amazon juggernaut, they're slowly pushing themselves out of business. Quoting: 'Until 2008, ebooks were a tiny market segment, under 1% and easily overlooked; but in 2009 ebook sales began to rise exponentially, and ebooks now account for over 20% of all fiction sales. In some areas ebooks are up to 40% of the market and rising rapidly. (I am not making that last figure up: I'm speaking from my own sales figures.) And Amazon have got 80% of the ebook retail market. ... the Big Six's pig-headed insistence on DRM on ebooks is handing Amazon a stick with which to beat them harder. DRM on ebooks gives Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform.'"

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Civilian Use of Drone Aircraft May Soon Fly In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-get-a-drone-you-get-a-drone-everybody-gets-a-drone department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the Seattle Times:
"Drone aircraft, best known for their role in hunting and destroying terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, may be coming soon to the skies near you. Police agencies want drones for air support to find runaway criminals. Utility companies expect they can help monitor oil, gas and water pipelines. Farmers believe drones could aid in spraying crops with pesticides. 'It's going to happen,' said Dan Elwell, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Association. 'Now it's about figuring out how to safely assimilate the technology into national airspace.' That's the job of the Federal Aviation Administration, which plans to propose new rules for using small drones in January, a first step toward integrating robotic aircraft into the nation's skyways."

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Behind the Government's Rules of Cyber War
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's defining-preemptive-retaliation department:
wiredmikey writes "Deciding when malware becomes a weapon of war that warrants a response in the physical world – for example, a missile – has become a necessary part of the discussion of military doctrine. The Pentagon recently outlined (PDF) its working definition of what constitutes cyber-war and when subsequent military strikes against physical targets may be justified as result. The main issue is attribution of cyber attacks. The Department of Defense is working to develop new ways to trace the physical source of an attack and the capability to identify an attacker using behavior-based algorithms. 'If a country is going to fire a missile at someone, it better be sure it has the right target,' said one expert. A widely held misconception in the U.S. government is our offensive capabilities provide defensive advantage by identifying attacker toolkits and methods in foreign networks prior to them hitting our networks. So when do malware and cyber attacks become a weapon or act of war that warrant a real-world military response?"

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Google Researchers Propose Plan To Fix CA System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's put-a-plus-one-button-on-it department:
Trailrunner7 writes "The security industry has no shortage of hard problems to solve, but the one getting the most attention right now is finding a way to improve, or ideally, replace, the CA infrastructure. The latest in what has become a series of recent proposals to help shore up the certificate authority system comes from a pair of Google security researchers who have laid out a plan for providing auditable public logs of certificates as well as proofs for each certificate issued. The system proposed by Google's Adam Langley and Ben Laurie (PDF) comprises three separate ideas, but relies on the creation of a publicly viewable log of every public certificate that's issued by a CA. There could be any number of public logs of these certificates, but the logs will be structured so that they are append-only. The entries in the logs will be the end certificates in the issuance chain. In addition to the logs, the proposal includes the use of proofs that are sent with each certificate to the user's browser. Laurie and Langley haven't defined exactly what the proof would look like, but suggest that it could be an extra certificate or a TLS extension."

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Judge Orders Hundreds of Websites Delisted From Search Engines, Social Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-on-earth department:
An anonymous reader writes "A federal judge has ruled that a number of a websites trafficking in counterfeit Chanel goods can have their domains seized and transferred to a new registrar. Astonishingly, the judge also ordered that the sites must be de-indexed from all search engines and all social media websites. Quoting the article: 'Missing from the ruling is any discussion of the Internet's global nature; the judge shows no awareness that the domains in question might not even be registered in this country, for instance, and his ban on search engine and social media indexing apparently extends to the entire world. (And, when applied to US-based companies like Twitter, apparently compels them to censor the links globally rather than only when accessed by people in the US.) Indeed, a cursory search through the list of offending domains turns up poshmoda.ws, a site registered in Germany. The German registrar has not yet complied with the US court order, though most other domain names on the list are .com or .net names and have been seized.'"

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Microsoft Working On Kinect 2
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's xbox-paint-my-house department:
itwbennett writes "Eurogamer published a piece on a rumored Kinect 2 system that will most likely launch with the next iteration of the Xbox line, which might be sometime between late 2012 and 2014. Eurogamer says this new Kinect won't be hobbled by the limitations of the USB 2.0 port that the current Kinect uses; instead the hardware will be designed to give the new Kinect a faster pipeline to the system's internals. What this means, says blogger Peter Smith is that 'not only can Kinect 2 read finger movements (high on the wish-list for the current hardware) but it can read lips, too. I don't think they mean this in the sense that it can extrapolate what you're saying from your lip movements, but that it can tell who in a room is speaking by matching lip movement to audio input.'"

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Physicist Uses Laser Light As Fast, True-Random Number Generator
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's everything-is-better-with-lasers department:
MrKevvy writes
"An Ottawa physicist is using laser light to create truly random numbers much faster than other methods do, with obvious potential benefits to cryptography: 'Sussman's Ottawa lab uses a pulse of laser light that lasts a few trillionths of a second. His team shines it at a diamond. The light goes in and comes out again, but along the way, it changes. ... It is changed because it has interacted with quantum vacuum fluctuations, the microscopic flickering of the amount of energy in a point in space. ... What happens to the light is unknown — and unknowable. Sussman's lab can measure the pulses of laser light that emerge from this mysterious transformation, and the measurements are random in a way that nothing in our ordinary surroundings is. Those measurements are his random numbers.'"

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Facebook Settles With FTC, Admits Privacy Violations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's present-your-wrist-for-a-slapping department:
Animats writes
"Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The settlement is soft on Facebook; there are no fines or criminal penalties. According to the FTC, in December 2009, Facebook 'changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. Facebook didn't warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.' Among the other complaints (PDF), 'Facebook represented that third-party apps that users' installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users' personal data – data the apps didn't need.'"
The settlement demands that Facebook avoid any new deceptive privacy claims, and also that users must give explicit permission for changes to be made to their privacy preferences. Facebook will be audited every two years for the next two decades to make sure they're holding up their end of the settlement. In a lengthy statement on Facebook's blog, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that they'd made mistakes.

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RIM To Offer Multiplatform Device Management
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-can't-beat-'em,-manage-'em department:
Aryden sends this quote from an IDG News report:
"Research In Motion is taking on mobile device management for Android and Apple iOS devices as well as its own products, introducing the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion product, on Tuesday. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is designed to simplify the management of phones and tablets that run RIM's current BlackBerry OS and the emerging BBX platform, which is based on the QNX software that currently powers RIM's PlayBook tablet. But Mobile Fusion will also manage devices using the two biggest mobile OSs, Android and iOS."

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'Alternative Medicine' Clinic Attempts To Silence Critics
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '11 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's my-science-can-beat-up-your-science department:
Asmodae writes "Stanislaw Burzynski runs a clinic specializing in an alternative cancer treatment called 'antineoplaston therapy,' and charges thousands of dollars for the privilege. Unfortunately, there's no scientific support for such treatment, and skeptics all over the web are raising red flags and trying to warn potential patients away. This includes high-school blogger Rhys Morgan, who has received legal threats from Burzynski's clinic for his efforts. Phil Plait summarizes the situation thus: 'In general, it’s a little unusual, to say the least, for a team doing medical research to sue someone for criticizing them. That’s because real science thrives on criticism, since it’s only through critiques that the potential errors of a particular method can be assessed — that’s why research is supposed to be published in peer-reviewed journals as well. Suing is the antithesis of that idea. ... I’ll note that the clinic has threatened to sue multiple people, including Peter Bowditch and Andy Lewis, two other bloggers who have criticized antineoplaston therapy.'"

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