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Showing posts from November, 2012
German lawmakers condemn Google campaign against copyright law

By Madeline Chambers
BERLIN | Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:22am EST
(Reuters) - Senior German politicians have denounced as propaganda a campaign by Google to mobilize public opinion against proposed legislation to let publishers charge search engines for displaying newspaper articles.
Internet lobbyists say they are worried the German law will set a precedent for other countries such as France and Italy that have shown an interest in having Google pay publishers for the right to show their news snippets in its search results.
Lawmakers in Berlin will debate the bill in the Bundestag (lower house) on Thursday. Google says the law would make it harder for users to retrieve information via the Internet.
Google launched its campaign against the bill on Tuesday with advertisements in German newspapers and a web information site called "Defend your web".
"Such a law would hit every Internet user in Germany," Stefan Tweraser…
Microsoft's ads deride Google a bad place to shop
By By Michael Liedtke on November 28, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft is trying to skewer Google as a lousy holiday shopping guide in its latest attempt to divert more traffic to its Bing search engine.
The attack starts Wednesday with a marketing campaign focused on a recent change in how Google runs the part of its search engine devoted to shopping results. The revisions require merchants to pay Google to have their products listed in the shopping section.
In its new ads, Microsoft Corp. contends the new approach betrays Google Inc.'s longstanding commitment to provide the most trustworthy results on the Web, even if it means foregoing revenue. To punctuate its point, Microsoft is warning consumers that they risk getting "scroogled" if they rely on Google's shopping search service.
The message will be highlighted in TV commercials scheduled to run on NBC and CNN and newspaper ads in The New York Times, The …
USPS Chief Lays Out Plan for the Agency’s Survival
Published: Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012 | 9:20 AM ET By: AP
The head of the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service said the agency must be allowed to ease the terms of prepayments into a retiree health-care fund and eliminate general mail delivery on Saturday.
Patrick Donahoe told "CBS This Morning" the agency isn't asking Congress for money.
He said, "I think most people don't realize, we're 100 percent self-sufficient. We pay our own way." But the postal chief notes the agency is losing $15.9 billion this year.
Donahoe says the post office needs to refinance retirement health fund payments to $1 billion a year instead of $5 billion.
He said the Postal Service would continue package delivery on Saturday and keep post offices open. In this scenario, he says the agency could be $8 billion in the black each year.
© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/49992517
10-year-old girl's laptop confiscated after copyright offense
Devin Coldewey / NBC News  11/27/2012
Police in Helsinki seized the laptop of a young girl during a search of her family's home last week, according to her father. The alleged offense? Using the popular BitTorrent website The Pirate Bay to download a single album.
Last year, 9-year-old Julietta came across a torrent on The Pirate Bay after searching on Google for Finnish pop star Chisu's latest album. The download failed to work, and she and her father went and bought the album together shortly afterwards. Unbeknownst to them, Finland's Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (known as CIAPC, as well as its Finnish acronym, TTVK) had already taken notice.
The events are related by the girl's father, Aki Wequ Nylund, in a public Facebook post. (Though Google Translate's Finnish is not very good, an account of the translated story was posted at copyright and BitTorrent news blog TorrentFreak.)
That spr…
Federal officials take down 132 websites in 'Cyber Monday' crackdown
By Brendan Sasso     - 11/26/12 12:20 PM ET U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and European officials seized 132 websites on Monday for allegedly selling counterfeit merchandise in a coordinated crackdown timed to coincide with the holiday shopping season.
It is the third straight year that the government has seized websites on "Cyber Monday" — the marketing term for the Monday after Thanksgiving, when many online retailers offer steep discounts and promotions.
ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit coordinated with officials from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania, the United Kingdom and the European Police Office to take down the sites.
"This operation is a great example of the tremendous cooperation between ICE and our international partners at the [Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center]," ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. "Our partnerships enable …
Palm scanners get thumbs up in schools, hospitals
Brian Shane, USA TODAY Palm-scanning technology uses unique vein patterns as a handy ID system.
11:32PM EST November 25. 2012 - At schools in Pinellas County, Fla., students aren't paying for lunch with cash or a card, but with a wave of their hand over a palm scanner.
"It's so quick that a child could be standing in line, call mom and say, 'I forgot my lunch money today.' She's by her computer, runs her card, and by the time the child is at the front of the line, it's already recorded," says Art Dunham, director of food services for Pinellas County Schools.
Students take about four seconds to swipe and pay for lunch, Dunham says, and they're doing it with 99% accuracy.
"We just love it. No one wants to go back," Dunham says.
Palm-scanning technology is popping up nationwide as a bona fide biometric tracker of identities, and it appears poised to make the jump from schools and hospitals to othe…
U.N. to Seek Control of the Internet
2:48 PM, NOV 26, 2012   • BY DANIEL HALPER       
Next week the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to figure out how to control the Internet. Representatives from 193 nations will attend the nearly two weeklong meeting, according to news reports.
"Next week the ITU holds a negotiating conference in Dubai, and past months have brought many leaks of proposals for a new treaty. U.S. congressional resolutions and much of the commentary, including in this column, have focused on proposals by authoritarian governments to censor the Internet. Just as objectionable are proposals that ignore how the Internet works, threatening its smooth and open operations," reports the Wall Street Journal.
"Having the Internet rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla. The Internet is made up of 40,000 networks that interconnect among 425,000 global routes, cheaply and efficiently …
New Facebook policy conflicts with European law, concerns privacy advocates
By Craig Timberg, Updated: Friday, November 23, 1:34 PM
Elements of Facebook’s proposed new privacy policy conflict with European law, a key regulator said Friday, as he moved to give users on the continent more power to block the sharing of their data with the company’s affiliates, such as Instagram.
Regulators alerted Facebook about the problem shortly after the company announced major changes to how it will treat users’ personal data on Wednesday, said Gary T. Davis, deputy data protection commissioner in Ireland. His office oversees Facebook operations for all of Europe because the company’s headquarters for the continent are in Dublin.
The proposed policy also drew criticism from American privacy advocates, who said that the changes would make more data available to advertisers without users’ explicit consent, in violation of last year’s consent decree between Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission. The ag…
Campaigns’ use of supporters’ data worries privacy advocates
By Craig Timberg, Published: November 20 | Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 5:00 AM
Shortly before Election Day, a Stanford graduate student reported that the campaign Web sites of both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney were “leaking” personal information about their supporters through careless data handling.
Had it been Facebook and Google, a federal investigation might have ensued, and the companies could have suffered significant public relations setbacks and perhaps fines. But the Federal Trade Commission, the government agency most focused on personal privacy, has no jurisdiction over campaigns or political groups.
That is a small example of what privacy advocates say is a big problem with efforts to protect personal information in the United States: The politicians are not guarding the chicken coop. They are the foxes.
Obama’s sophisticated use of Big Data gave him a crucial edge in what, based on popular support a…
Man arrested in Athens over ID theft of most of Greek population
Reuters – Tue, Nov 20, 2012
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a man on suspicion of stealing the personal data of roughly two thirds of the country's population, police officials in Athens said on Tuesday.
The 35-year old computer programmer was also suspected of attempting to sell the 9 million files containing identification card data, addresses, tax ID numbers and license plate numbers. Some files contained duplicate entries, police said.
Greece's population is 11 million.
"We are investigating what the source of the data was and how they were used by the man arrested, and also the possibility of him providing them to someone else," police spokesman Christos Manouras told reporters.
Police were also looking into whether the man had obtained the data files by hacking into a government server and whether he had an accomplice, officials said. The files were discovered after police raided his home.
Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants
Proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans' e-mail privacy. Then law enforcement complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files.
by Declan McCullagh  November 20, 2012 4:00 AM PST
Sen. Patrick Leahy previously said his bill boosts Americans' e-mail privacy protections by "requiring that the government obtain a search warrant." That's no longer the case.
A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.
CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.
Revise…
Judge OKs iPhone 5, newest Galaxy devices for next big trial
Some of Apple and Samsung's latest mobile devices can be added to an upcoming trial between the two tech giants.
by Josh Lowensohn  November 16, 2012 10:10 AM PST  (Credit: CNET)
Some of Apple and Samsung's latest devices have been given the go-ahead to be included in an ongoing lawsuit between the two tech giants.
In an order yesterday, U.S. magistrate judge Paul Grewal granted motions from both companies that sought to add devices launched after a legal cutoff in mid-June.
That shortlist includes Apple's iPhone 5, which debuted in September, Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1, the U.S. model of the Galaxy S3, and, notably, Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS in conjunction with the Galaxy Nexus smartphone.
The new devices add to an already impressive tally by Apple, which is accusing 19 of Samsung's devices of infringing claims from eight of its patents. The case, which is separate from one a Northern Calif…
U.S. Postal Service on a ‘Tightrope’ Lost $15.9 Billion
By Angela Greiling Keane - Nov 15, 2012 7:50 AM PT
U.S. Postal Service Faces Default Without Action
The U.S. Postal Service said its net loss last year widened to $15.9 billion, more than the $15 billion it had projected, as mail volume continued to drop, falling 5 percent.
Without action by Congress, the service will run out of cash on Oct. 15, 2013, after it makes a required workers compensation payment to the U.S. Labor Department and before revenue typically jumps with holiday-season mailing, Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said today.
The service, whose fiscal year ends Sept. 30, lost $5.1 billion a year earlier. It announced the 2012 net loss at a meeting at its Washington headquarters.
“We are walking a financial tightrope,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said at the meeting. “Will we ever stop delivering the mail? It will never happen. We are simply too important to the economy and the flow of commerce.”
The Postal Servi…
Analysts divine traces of Windows 8 weakness, ego clash in Sinofsky exit Disagree about future course for Windows and company, but 'damage control' is likely
By Gregg Keizer November 13, 2012 02:01 PM ET
Computerworld - Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's top Windows executive, abruptly left the company Monday, a move that some analysts saw as an indictment of Windows 8. But other experts believe more was at play and that Microsoft will stick to the strategic trail Sinofsky blazed.
The mixed reaction from long-time Microsoft watchers, some of them former company employees, reflected the "Kremlinologist" tactics necessary to peer into a major company like Microsoft, especially one where Sinofsky's penchant for secrecy had taken hold.
Microsoft announced Sinofsky's exit late Monday. According to the company, yesterday was his last day, as his departure was effective immediately. Microsoft promoted Julie Larson-Green, a Sinofsky lieutenant and Window's chief designer…
Plastic cards for Google’s digital wallet?

Nov. 10, 2012, 9:00 a.m. EST
This week, the search giant added the “ Google Wallet Card ” to the list of devices able to use its Google Wallet mobile payment system. Asked why users would want a physical card, when the whole point of a digital wallet would seem to be to dispense with the need for a carrying around a deck of plastic, a spokesman replied that the company is “always working on ways to make shopping a better experience for consumers.” By Thursday, all references to the “Google Wallet Card” were pulled from the site. The company would not comment on that.
It’s not the first time Google introduced its own cards. Earlier this year, the company launched a pilot Google “AdWords” business credit card for small businesses in the U.K. and U.S. to help them pay for and track their online advertising accounts with Google.
But does it make sense to have a plastic card to go with a virtual wallet? Perhaps, analysts say. The physical card could h…
Australia Abandons Mmandatory Internet Filter Plan
Nov 8, 10:11 PM EST
BY ROD MCGUIRK ASSOCIATED PRESS
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- The Australian government has abandoned its 5-year-old pledge to mandate a filter blocking child pornography and other objectionable Internet content.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Friday that instead of a compulsory filter being imposed, Internet service providers have agreed to block 1,400 child abuse websites on INTERPOL's "worst of" list.
Three of Australia's largest telecommunications companies - Telstra, Optus and Primus - have been blocking the listed sites since 2010.
"We've actually reached agreement with the industry to block child pornography and we think that is a significant step forward," Conroy told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
Critics had said the proposed legislated filter would have put Australia in the same censorship league as China. Even the U.S. State Department expressed concerns about t…
Google blocked in China as government leaders meet
By Julianne Pepitone @CNNMoneyTech November 9, 2012: 4:32 PM ET
The censorship-tracking site GreatFIre said many Google subdomains were "DNS poisoned in China" on Friday, and that most attempts to circumvent the block did not work.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Google and all of its major services were blocked in China on Friday, as the Communist Party meets to appoint new leaders for the first time in a decade.
Google's own "transparency report" -- designed to detect and publicize service disruptions -- shows a sharp drop in traffic from China across all of Google's products. The company added the incident to its timeline of outages.
"We've checked and there's nothing wrong on our end," a Google representative told CNNMoney.
The cause of the outage is unclear, but it comes just one day after the start of the Communist Party's 18th National Congress in China. The once-every-decade meeting is held t…
After Stuxnet: The new rules of cyberwar
Critical infrastructure providers face off against a rising tide of increasingly sophisticated and potentially destructive attacks emanating from hacktivists, spies and militarized malware. Robert L. Mitchell
November 5, 2012 (Computerworld)
Three years ago, when electric grid operators were starting to talk about the need to protect critical infrastructure from cyberattacks, few utilities had even hired a chief information security officer.
Then came Stuxnet.
In 2010, that malware, widely reported to have been created by the U.S. and Israel, reportedly destroyed 1,000 centrifuges that Iran was using to enrich uranium after taking over the computerized systems that operated the centrifuges.
Gen. Michael Hayden, principal at security consultancy The Chertoff Group, was director of the National Security Agency, and then the CIA, during the years leading up to the event. "I have to be careful about this," he says, "but in a time of peace, …