Saturday, January 07, 2006

AT&T, Verizon Turning to Microsoft for IPTV to the Home

Peter Rojas writes over on Engadget:

This doesn't get all that much attention -- at least not yet -- but Microsoft isn't placing all its bets on the Xbox 360 or Media Center in the battle to control the living room; they've also been pushing hard to get mixed up with how television is delivered to the home (insert obligatory joke here about your TV crashing).

Comcast has been testing Microsoft's Foundation software for cable set-top boxes for awhile, but they're hoping to be all over IPTV this year, they've recently announced that both Verizon and AT&T are starting to slowly roll-out IPTV over fiber using Microsoft TV IPTV Edition here in the States.

The Internet Business and Free Speech

Via Reporters sans Frontières.

Reporters Without Borders has repeatedly condemned the ethical lapses displayed by certain Internet sector companies when operating in repressive countries.

The recent case of Microsoft closing down a journalist’s blog under pressure from the Chinese authorities once again shows that some Internet sector companies do not respect freedom of expression when operating in repressive countries.

Reporters Without Borders proposes six concrete ways to make these companies behave ethically. These recommendations are addressed to the US government and US legislators because all the companies named in this document are based in the United States. Nonetheless, they concern all democratic countries and have therefore been sent to European Union officials and to the Secretary General of the OECD as well.

User Friendly: Yet Even More RIAA Shennanigans


Click for larger image.

Wal-Mart Sees How Fast Bad Press Spreads Online

Frank Ahrens writes in The Washington Post:

Used to be, when you were angry with a corporation or a government or even a person, you had to stand outside the building and hold a sign, or at least yell a lot.

Your distribution -- and potential impact -- was limited to the range of your voice or the size of the letters on your sign. If you hoped for a wider audience, you had to hector the local television news to show up. If you got really lucky, its feed was picked up by the networks, and you'd get 30 seconds at the end of the evening news.

But now, you can go from zero to global in a matter of minutes, as Wal-Mart painfully found out last week.

H5N1 News: Fears of Human Bird Flu Spread Throughout Turkey

Via RIA Novosti.

Following the recent deaths of three Turkish children of the Kocyigit family from the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, fears of human infection have spread to regions all over the country.

In the Van province in eastern Turkey, where the three victims were hospitalized, local authorities have begun a mass culling of domestic birds. National TV channel NTV reported that 44,500 chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese have been culled in the area.

There are currently 31 people in the Van hospital being treated for suspected bird flu.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Beware a rebranded version of SpyAxe -- SpywareStrike

Alex Eckleberry writes over on The Sunbelt Blog:

SpyAxe is a rogue antispyware program that uses extremely deceptive behavior to get on a system, and is very difficult to remove.

A new player, SpywareStrike, looks to be a rebrand of SpyAxe.

More here.

Collectors Go Bananas for Flawed $20 Bill

The famed "Del Monte Note" is expected to be auctioned
off for $20,000 - $25,000.

Image source: CNN / AP

An AP newswire article, via CNN, reports that:

An ordinary fruit sticker that mysteriously ended up on a $20 bill could spur currency collectors to bid up to 1,000 times the bill's face value at an auction Friday.

The flawed bill bears a red, green and yellow Del Monte sticker next to Andrew Jackson's portrait. The bill originated at a U.S. Treasury Department printing facility in Fort Worth, but how the fruit tag found its way onto the greenback is unknown. fix...

Via Enjoy!

Google's DRM: Now, The Bad News

Mike Masnick, over at, writes:

When we called attention yesterday to the news that Google was apparently launching its own proprietary copy protection, we dinged AP and Reuters for completely ignoring it in their reports. At least for the AP, the reason they didn't mention it was because it was under embargo, and that embargo is now over, since Larry Page is on stage in Las Vegas talking about it.

Unfortunately, Google's copy protection scheme sounds just as bad as we feared. It is their very own, and it will limit what you can do with the video significantly. You can't transfer the video to mobile devices.

More here.

Online Child Pornographer Sentenced

Roy Mark writes on

A 23-year-old resident of Waterville, Maine, was sentenced to more than five years in prison Friday for distributing child pornography over the Internet.

According to the Department of Justice, the child pornography involved was produced through the use of actual minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The material was allegedly a visual depiction of such conduct.

In addition to 62 months in jail, Zachary John Nielson Gimpel faces supervised release for life after he leaves prison.

eBay Hacker Indicted in Massachusetts

Paul F. Roberts writes in eWeek:

A 20-year-old Massachusetts man has been charged with hacking into dozens of customer accounts at online auctioneer eBay Inc. and racking up $32,000 in charges.

Sean Galvez of Boston was indicted on one count of larceny and 10 counts of unauthorized access to a computer and identity fraud committed during 2003.

He is believed to have illegally accessed and taken over more than 40 eBay accounts, then used them to buy gift certificates for eBay's, according to a statement from Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.

eBay did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NYC Thieves Bag $100,000 After Stealing ATM Pin Numbers

Rob Kelley writes on CNN/Money:

A sophisticated group of thieves used technical trickery to steal ATM card information -- and over $100,000 -- from customers at two New York City Washington Mutual branches.

The thieves rigged fake keypads and bank-card slots onto ATMs to gather card information and encoded the information on new cards, police say.

They then used the new, fraudulent cards for withdrawals from approximately 50 Washington Mutual accounts at other ATM locations.

The two Washington Mutual branches were on Canal Street in lower Manhattan and on Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island.

Images of the suspects were recorded on the bank's security cameras.

German Court Backs Apple Against 'Spod'

John Borland writes in the C|Net Apple Blog:

A German court, at the request of Apple Computer, has temporarily barred a Stuttgart technology company from marketing its brand "Spod" for a cell phone podcasting service, according to the German company's executives.

Liquid Air Lab has been offering a service since late last year that provides broadband-capable mobile phone users with access to radio shows, music downloads, ring tones, and other services.

U.S. Collects DNA of Arrestees

Via Red Herring.

Civil libertarians on Friday complained about a new law that allows collection of DNA profiles from everyone arrested in the United States, regardless of the alleged crime or whether they are eventually convicted.

The Department of Justice Reauthorization bill, which was signed by President George W. Bush on Thursday, includes no restrictions on the way the information is used, according to Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Technology and Liberty Project.

The bill permits arrestees’ DNA to be stored in an FBI database called the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), from which it could be used to search for genetic matches to crime scene blood, semen, or hair samples.

The bill also gives the U.S. government clearance to collect DNA from foreigners attempting to enter the country illegally.

2nd-Level .pk (Pakistan) Domains Now Available to Non-Trademark Holders

Thanks to Bret Fausett for pointing this out.

According to NetNames:

.pk was made available to non-trademark holders on 31 December. Until 10 January, applications will be queued, then processed in a randomised fashion by the registry. After 10 January, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

To apply for .pk, go to now.

TIAA-CREF Plagued by Platform Upgrade Problems

Renee Boucher Ferguson writes in eWeek:

TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association–College Retirement Equities Fund), one of the nation's largest private retirement systems, has had ongoing issues with internal systems that have caused delayed access to pensioner funds.

While the company has pointed to infrastructure upgrades as the culprit, internal TIAA-CREF e-mails obtained by eWEEK from an anonymous source indicate that the pensioner issues are directly related to a major implementation of the company's Open Plan Solutions platform.

Analysts: Bush Spying Rationale Legally Shaky

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

A memorandum from two congressional legal analysts concludes that the administration’s justification for the monitoring of certain domestic communications may not be as solid as President Bush and his top aides have argued.

The Congressional Research Service, which advises lawmakers on a wide range of matters, said a final determination about the issue is impossible without a deeper understanding of the program and Bush’s authorization, “which are for the most part classified.”

Yet two attorneys in the organization’s legislative law division, Elizabeth Bazan and Jennifer Elsea, say the justification that the Justice Department laid out in a Dec. 22 analysis for the House and Senate intelligence committees “does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests.”

Homeland Security Opening Private Mail

Brock N. Meeks writes over on MSNBC:

In the 50 years that Grant Goodman has known and corresponded with a colleague in the Philippines he never had any reason to suspect that their friendship was anything but spectacularly ordinary.

But now he believes that the relationship has somehow sparked the interest of the Department of Homeland Security and led the agency to place him under surveillance.

Last month Goodman, an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal.

“I had no idea (Homeland Security) would open personal letters,” Goodman told in a phone interview. “That’s why I alerted the media. I thought it should be known publicly that this is going on,” he said. Goodman originally showed the letter to his own local newspaper, the Kansas-based Lawrence Journal-World.

More here.

Judge Tentatively OKs Sony BMG Settlement

An AP newswire article, via The Washington Post, reports that:

A judge Friday tentatively approved a proposed settlement of lawsuits against Sony BMG Music Entertainment that would give millions of consumers free music downloads to compensate them for flawed software on CDs.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald gave her approval after a hearing in which lawyers explained the deal that requires the world's second-largest music label to stop manufacturing compact discs software that can leave computers vulnerable to hackers.

Software Error to Blame for Some Brokers Who Failed Test

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Almost 2,000 people trying to qualify as stockbrokers were flunked in last 14 months because of a software error in a test program, the NASD said Friday.

The private-sector regulatory group, formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers, is notifying 1,882 individuals — about 10 percent of those who failed — that they actually passed.

About 30 percent of people who take the test fail on average, said NASD spokeswoman Nancy Condon.

'I did not have relations with that software company...'

John Paczkowski writes on Good Morning, Silicon Valley (GMSV):

This has to be the wildest, most appealing Microsoft rumor to surface in ages: Former President Bill Clinton is considering signing on as the company's president. From VoIP Watch:

"Here's what I know. Sources near Microsoft headquarters report that over the past few months the ex cigar smoking prexy has made trips to Microsoft headquarters and has been interviewing for the top slot as the company looks at ways to transform themselves for the future. Given the global implications of technology, having a leader that is an ex country president would be massive."

Clinton? At Microsoft? That's like ... Richard Stallman in the White House. The mind reels.

Alleged eDonkey Pirate Gets Trial

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

Paramount detected a copy of its Jim Carrey movie "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" on the eDonkey network on Dec. 23, 2004. That was a week after it was released in theaters.

The detection, done by contractor BayTSP, allegedly yielded an Internet Protocol (IP) address of Because that chunk of IP addresses is owned by Comcast, Paramount filed a "John Doe" lawsuit and then fired off a subpoena to the cable provider.

More here.

Why The White House Ignores The Rules: Because We Can

Daniel Klaidman writes in Newsweek:

To many people, the most perplexing aspect of the Bush administration’s domestic spying program is that it was largely unnecessary. President George Bush could have simply invoked the emergency provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which would have allowed the government to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists 72 hours before receiving authorization from the FISA court. Alternatively, the White House could have gone to Congress to amend the FISA statute.

So why did the White House take such a controversial step, one that would inevitably open it up to serious charges of violating the civil liberties of American citizens? The answer may be as simple as this: a zealous belief that it could, regardless of whether doing so was necessary.

More here.

CES: Tom Cruise Saves Yahoo! Go TV Demo

Image source: C|Net / Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Via C|Net News.

Gremlins did in the Yahoo Go TV demo during Terry Semel's keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday, putting the Yahoo CEO and fellow executives in a bind. Semel put an end to the ad libbing by calling Hollywood star Tom Cruise on stage to entertain the crowd. "I guess if you're going to have a demo glitch (there is no) better way to follow it up than with Tom Cruise," Semel said.

First NSA Documents on Spy Scandal Released


EPIC has obtained the first Freedom of Information Act documents released by the National Security Agency on its controversial surveillance program. The documents, which are internal messages [.pdf] from the agency's director to staff, defend the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping and discourage employees from discussing the issue with the news media.

Three More U.S. States Add Laws on Data Breaches

Jaikumar Vijayan writes in ComputerWorld:

Companies struggling to keep up with a patchwork of state laws related to data privacy and information security have three more to contend with, as new security-breach notification laws went into effect in Illinois, Louisiana and New Jersey on Jan. 1.

Like existing statutes in more than 20 other states, the new laws prescribe various actions that companies are required to take in the event of a security breach involving the compromise of personal data about their customers.

Snail Mail Alert: U.S. Stamp Prices Go Up Sunday

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

It'll cost more to send mail starting Sunday. The first rate increase since 2002 will boost the cost of sending a first-class letter by 2 cents, to 39 cents.

The increase follows legislation requiring the Postal Service to place $3.1 billion in an escrow account this year. Another rate boost is likely next year to cover rising costs for the agency.

Japan to Launch Two More Spy Satellites by March 2007

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

Japan is planning to send two more spy satellites into orbit by March 2007 to monitor North Korea, a media report said Friday.

Kyodo News agency reported that Japan plans to send up two spy satellites during fiscal 2006 ending in March 2007, citing unnamed government sources.

Noriaki Saito, an official of the Japan's space agency JAXA, could not confirm the report.

News From The 'Other' CES: Porn Arrives for iPod Video

Charlie Demerjian writes in The Inquirer:

YOU KNOW ALL real consumer tech comes from porn, and this year was no exception. What would the hottest gadget this non-denominational winter and year end celebration, the iPod video, be without porn?

Well, if you are into dull focus grouped to banality ABC sitcoms, a lot of fun. If you have more than 4 brain cells, you are looking for more.

Your Cell Phone Records Are For Sale -- Cheap

Frank Mann writes in The Chicago Sun-Times:

The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.

Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company.

Texas Gov. Perry Wants to Add 'Intelligent Design' to State Curriculum

Let the shit storm begin.

W. Gardner Selby writes in The Austin American-Statesman:

Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who has made outreach to Christian conservatives a theme of his gubernatorial portfolio, thinks Texas public school students should be taught intelligent design along with evolutionary theory, his office said Thursday.

Three Democratic challengers for governor this year and independent hopeful Kinky Friedman disagreed. Independent candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn had no immediate comment, and a little-known Democratic hopeful sided with Perry.

Wireless Carriers Losing Focus?

A UPI newswire article, via, reports that:

Wireless carriers have lost their focus and are concentrating on the wrong priorities, like trying to recruit as many new subscribers as possible, rather than properly serving those customers they have already contracted with, experts tell United Press International's Wireless World.

Mobile-phone-network operators are under competing pressures this year. New technologies are coming to market, like 3G cellular networks, next-generation network Internet Protocol multimedia subsystems -- so called NGN/IMS technologies.

Yahoo!, Google Add New Choices

Via Red Herring.

Yahoo and Google executives are announcing far-reaching products Friday that offer consumers more control over what they want to see on the Internet and where they want to see it.

Google is expected to roll out software, upgrade its video search service, add cell phone access, and start selling videos. Meanwhile, Yahoo is launching a group of services called Yahoo Go that provide access to a broad range of content across devices ranging from cell phones, computers, and televisions.

The announcements, which are being made at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, reflect the growing recognition by the two leading search engines that the key to winning and retaining consumers through the Internet is putting more control and more choice in their hands.

Forgent Settles Yet Another JPEG Patent Case

Via The Austin Business Journal.

Forgent Networks Inc. has completed another patent license agreement over its JPEG-related patent.

Austin-based Forgent and its Compression Labs subsidiary made the patent license agreement with Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications Inc., formerly ScanSoft Inc.

Alabama Court Order Allows Austin's Multimedia Games to Reinstall Gaming Equipment

This is apparently an ongoing back-and-forth issue with gaming in Alabama. Back in late November, the Mobile County Sheriff's Office and the Alabama Attorney general shut down two Internet Cafes where users were taking part in Internet gambling.

Now, according to The Austin Business Journal:

An Alabama court ruled that law enforcement officials must return all equipment belonging to Austin charity gaming operator Multimedia Games Inc. that was seized during a December raid.

About 300 computer servers and hundreds of sweepstakes video readers were removed from the Birmingham Race Course in Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 22 by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, which served a warrant issued by an Alabama state judge for the race course. That warrant claimed Multimedia Games' machines violated Alabama sweepstakes law.

Multimedia Games had installed about 1,300 sweepstakes video readers at the Birmingham Race Course.

AOL to Settle Suit Over Billing

A Reuters newswire article, via CNN/Money, reports that:

The America Online unit of Time Warner Inc. has agreed to settle a lawsuit over wrongful billings for as much as $25 million in cash plus other damages, a court-appointed mediator said Friday.

"AOL is settling this action simply to avoid the burden and expense of litigation," settlement administrator The Garden City Group Inc. said in a statement.

The proposed settlement calls for the company to pay up to $25 million in cash compensation and also issue AOL account credits, forgive amounts owed for unauthorized charges and make charitable donations of AOL services, the administrator said.

Verizon Completes $8.5B Purchase of MCI

An AP newswire article by Bruce Meyerson, via, reports that:

Verizon Communications Inc. completed its $8.5 billion purchase of MCI Inc. on Friday, giving the big local phone company a national fiber-optic network and business-services unit with which to compete with the hefty rival created by the recent takeover of AT&T Corp. by SBC Communications Inc.

The acquisition of MCI, which required a three-month bidding war against Qwest Communications International Inc., marks the final chapter for a company that brought competition to the long-distance phone business, but was ultimately hobbled by the WorldCom scandal and bankruptcy.

HP Faces Negligence Charges in India over Rape And Murder of Employee

Via The BBC.

Computer giant Hewlett Packard is facing legal action in India after the rape and murder of a female employee.

Pratibha Srikanthmurthy, 24, who worked in a Hewlett Packard Globalsoft call centre in Bangalore, was killed on her way to a night shift last month.

Karnataka state government officials say an inquiry found security lapses on the part of the company.

The company denies negligence. A cab driver who gave a lift to the victim has been arrested for her murder.

The attack has sent shockwaves through the city's IT community.

Austin is 23rd on List of 'Fittest' Cities

Austin turns up at Number 23 in the Men's Fitness List of Top 25 Fittest Cities.

An asterisk (*) denotes that last year's ranking was on the opposite list:

The 25 fittest cities

1. Baltimore (25*)
2. Honolulu (2)
3. Virginia Beach, Va. (12)
4. Tucson, Ariz. (8)
5. Milwaukee (15)
6. Colorado Springs, Colo. (3)
7. San Francisco (4)
8. Seattle (1)
9. Louisville-Jefferson, Ky. (not ranked)
10. Boston (11)
11. Sacramento, Calif. (7)
12. Nashville-Davidson, Tenn. (25)
13. Albuquerque (10)
14. Tulsa, Okla. (22*)
15. Phoenix (12*)
16. Atlanta (23*)
17. Portland, Ore. (6)
18. Washington (23)
19. Oakland, Calif. (20)
20. Denver (5)
21. Minneapolis (13)
22. Arlington, Texas (22)
23. Austin, Texas (19)
24. Jacksonville, Fla. (18)
25. Omaha, Neb. (16)

Source: Men's Fitness

Swedish Students Concoct Music Industry’s Nightmare

Nick Farrell writes in The Inquirer:

A GROUP OF students at the Viktoria Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden, has worked out a system of P2P music listening and sharing that will make the head of the RIAA wake up in the night in a cold sweat.

The students have developed something they call Push!Music. This is a mobile, peer-to-peer music listening and sharing application.

It runs on WiFi-enabled PDAs and allows users to actively recommend songs by pushing music to other users in the proximity.

U.S. CERT: Linux has more flaws than Windows

Nick Farrell writes in The Inquirer:

THE UNITED STATES Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) has prepared a report for the government that claims that fewer vulnerabilities were found in Windows than in Linux/Unix operating systems in 2005.

Cert included under the Linux umbrella Mac OS X, as well as the various Linux distributions and flavours of Unix. It claimed that the Unix camp had more than twice as many vulnerabilities as Windows.

China's 3G Cell-Phone Standard Reportedly Ready

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

China's homegrown standard for next-generation cell phone services is ready for use, possibly paving the way for wireless operators to begin upgrading the nation's wireless networks after a lengthy delay, a newspaper reported Friday.

The report by the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily didn't say when 3G licenses might be issued to Chinese and foreign phone producers or whether the new system was able to support as many features as competing standards.

Sony's Balancing Act

Sony CEO Howard Stringer holds the new Sony Reader
e-book at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Image source: CNN / AP

An AP newswire article, via CNN, reports that:

Problems with an aggressive copy protection program attached to several CDs from Sony BMG Music Entertainment reflect the difficulties balancing the needs of artists and consumers, Sony Corp. chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer said Thursday.

"Clearly the perception out there is that we shouldn't be doing too much of that copy protection stuff," Stringer said at a news conference at the annual Consumer Electronics Show.


Netcraft: January 2006 Web Server Survey

Via Netcraft.

In the January 2006 survey we received responses from 75,251,256 sites, an increase of 897K sites from December 2005. With the gain, the Internet resumes its pattern of steady growth, which was interrupted last month with a decrease of 219K hostnames, which was the first decline in the survey nearly three years. The loss was the result of the expiration of 1 million .name domains at Zipa.

This month's analysis shows how changes at a single large provider can influence survey trends. The market share for the Apache web server is down by nearly three percent this month, due primarily to configuration changes at domain registrar Go Daddy. Its bulk hosting service includes a front-end system that generates an HTTP redirect when a site is first accessed — and this redirect is not served by (or, at least, does not identify itself as) Apache. Once the redirect is followed, or if the site is accessed a second time, it is then served by Apache. So this change (which, given the large number of sites hosted by Go Daddy, has not gone unnoticed), has caused a large swing from Apache to Unknown.

The Slow Lingering Death of Net Neutrality?

Om Malik sounds the alarm:

On the front page of The Wall Street Journal [obnoxious registration required], the clock started to tick on the “network neutrality.”

Verizon Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg told reporters: “We have to make sure they don’t sit on our network and chew up our capacity.”

Anyone who forgot the comments of AT&T’s Ed Whitacre and BellSouth’s CTO Bill Smith, this is just a reminder. The argument is that the phone companies are going to charge for better performance for say games, or movie downloads or software downloads. It is not a bad thought, though only in cases where latency is a big issue. The argument of better network performance, as many in the business would tell you, is a bit of chimera.

Headline of the Day: Stewart to Host Oscars, Rumsfeld to Give GOP Response

Tech angle: None.

I simply post this for your perusal based only on it's sheer entertainment value. :-)

Scott Ott writes over on the Pajamas Media Blog:

Just hours after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named Comedy Channel news anchor Jon Stewart to host this year’s Academy Awards show, the White House announced that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been tapped to deliver the GOP response.

The Oscars Rebuttal Show, part of ABC-TV’s commitment to fairness, will attempt to refute and debunk the anti-Bush administration remarks that naturally flow from Mr. Stewart and his colleagues as they give little golden statues to people who make up stories and who pretend to be other people.

Toon: Selective Service

Click for larger image.

Congress' Hands Caught in the Web Tracking Cookie Jar

Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache writes on C|Net News:

Dozens of U.S. senators are quietly tracking visits to their Web sites even though they have publicly pledged not to do so.

Sixty-six politicians in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are setting permanent Web cookies even though at least 23 of them have promised not to use the online tracking technique, a CNET investigation shows.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for instance, has been a longtime advocate of strict privacy laws to restrict commercial Web sites' data collection practices. In a statement posted on his own Web site, McCain assures visitors that "I do not use 'cookies' or other means on my Web site to track your visit in any way."

But visiting implants a cookie on the visitor's PC that will not expire until 2035.

Morgan Freeman: Home Delivery to Spur Movie Creativity

Michael Kanellos writes on C|Net News:

Hollywood is going Dell, Morgan Freeman says.

The Academy Award-winning actor said services that will deliver first-run movies over the Internet to people's homes while the movies remain in theaters are "absolutely" analogous to what happened in the PC business when consumers began to buy their machines directly, during a brief interview with reporters after a Paul Otellini keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here.

Sony BMG Sued for Spyware and DRM Rootkits in Canada

Via Boing Boing.

Sony-BMG is being sued in class actions in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, just as it begins to settle some of the cases against it in the USA.

The revelation that Sony had deliberately infected its music CDs with invisible spyware and rootkits that installed themselves without your consent and left you vulnerable to cyber-attacks prompted several class-action and state lawuits across the US. Sony has settled some (though individuals can opt out and take Sony to small-claims court), but just as fast as they make one claim go away, another pops up.

Ohio Student Brings Down School Computer System


A Stark County high school senior has been arrested and charged for allegedly trying to crash his school's computer system.

Police say the student, created a website which connected to the school's system.

When enough users logged on and hit the F5 button, it overloaded the school's system.

But, Lake High School caught-on before the system crashed. Its computers started slowing down.

User Friendly: Greasy RIAA Manuevers


Click for larger image.

Iraq: 30-Year Prison Sentence for Criticizing Kurdish Regional President

Via Reporters sans Frontières.

Reporters Without Borders wrote today to the president of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, asking him to intervene in the case of an Austrian citizen of Kurdish origin, Kamal Sayid Qadir, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison on 19 December for libelling him in articles posted on the Internet.

“This incident bodes ill for freedom of expression in Iraq’s Kurdish region,” the press freedom organisation wrote. “We condemn the use of prison sentences to punish press offences and we are especially shocked by the length of this sentence, even if Qadir really did libel you. We therefore hope you will intervene to obtain his release and thereby show you intend to establish a fair judicial system in your region that complies with international standards.”

Qadir was arrested on 26 October by members of the Parastin, a security service operated by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the region’s two ruling parties. He is currently held in a prison in Erbil, one of the region’s main cities.

Iraqis Making Connection to the Outside World Online

Zaid Sabah writes in USA Today:

Mohammed Rahi has an addiction that's been growing in Iraq since soon after the U.S. invasion: the Internet.

"I spend six hours on the Net every two days," says Rahi, 25, at one of 20 personal computers in the Center MBC Internet Café. The addiction, as he calls it, costs him about $70 a month, a hefty sum in a country where most government salaries are in the range of $200 to $300 a month.

AT&T May Take Aim at EchoStar

A Reuters newswire article, via CNN/Money, reports that:

AT&T Inc. may be weighing a $13 billion bet to expand its television services and stymie competition from cable operators with a potential purchase of EchoStar Communications Corp., analysts said Thursday.

Industry rumors resurfaced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, an industry trade show in Las Vegas, that AT&T may buy EchoStar outright rather than merely reselling the satellite television company's service, analysts said.

Bells to Push for Tiered Web Traffic Fees

Via CNN/Money.

Large phone companies are seeking payments from Internet companies for high-quality delivery of music, movies and other content that will move over their telecommunications networks, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal reported the push by telephone companies could set the stage for the next big battle in the ever-changing telecommunications sector.

Movielink LLC, a joint venture of five major movie studios that offers movies to consumers over the Internet, said it has discussed the issue of payments with BellSouth, the newspaper reported, while BellSouth said it is in early talks with Internet movie companies and at least one gaming company over reaching agreements on some kind of payments.

Wal-Mart Halts Movie Suggestions on Web After Offensive Recommendations

An AP newswire article by Marcus Kabel, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is shutting down the system that creates movie recommendations on its shopping Web site after it linked a "Planet of the Apes" DVD to films about famous black Americans, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Wal-Mart said Thursday it had removed what it called the "offensive combinations" from a page advertising a boxed DVD set, "Planet of the Apes: The Complete TV Series."

H5N1 News: Third Sibling Dies From Bird Flu in Turkey

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

An 11-year-old girl died Friday of suspected bird flu in eastern Turkey — days after her brother and sister also succumbed. Their doctor said they probably contracted the illness by playing with dead chickens.

A fourth sibling from the same family was also seriously ill and breathing with the help of respirators, said Huseyin Avni Sahin, head physician at the hospital in the eastern city of Van where the children were treated.

A hospital official said up to 30 other people were being treated for possible bird flu symptoms early Friday, as Turkey sent medicines to the affected area in an effort to mobilize against a virus that appeared to be moving westward from eastern Asia.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Did NSA Spying Program Foil Terror Plots?

Mark Hosenball writes in Newsweek:

Did the National Security Agency’s controversial eavesdropping program really help to detect terrorists or avert their plots? Administration officials have suggested to media outlets like The New York Times—which broke the story—that the spying played a role in at least two well-publicized investigations, one in the United Kingdom and one involving a plan to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.

But before the NSA’s warrantless spying program became public, government spokesmen had previously cited other intelligence and legal tactics as having led to major progress in the same investigations. In the Brooklyn Bridge case, officials indicated that the questioning of a captured Al Qaeda leader had led to investigative breakthroughs in Ohio. In the British case, Justice Department officials told NEWSWEEK a year ago that investigators had made progress by using a controversial provision of the Patriot Act which allows authorities to monitor potentially suspicious activities in public libraries.

More here.

Cable Companies to Offer Interactive Standard

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

A new software system being deployed by cable TV companies and electronics makers will make it possible to buy a television, connect it to cable, and instantly view movies on demand, shop at home and control multiple devices with one remote.

Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable, a unit of media conglomerate Time Warner Inc., and other cable companies said they would begin offering the new standard in selected areas this year.

The new technical standard is called OpenCable Application Platform, or OCAP, and was developed by a consortium of cable TV companies over the past several years.

4-Year-Old Turns Up on Government ‘No-Fly’ List

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Edward Allen’s reaction to being on the government’s “no-fly” list should have been the tip-off that he is no terrorist.

“I don’t want to be on the list. I want to fly and see my grandma,” the 4-year-old boy said, according to his mother.

Sijollie Allen and her son had trouble boarding planes last month because someone with the same name as Edward is on a government terrorist watch list.

A Monster deal for Google?

Paul R. La Monica writes on CNN/Money:

Should Google start looking for a Monster under its corporate bed?

The top search engine is preparing to formally roll out Google Base, a service that among other things will allow users to post job listings for free.

Some have speculated that Google could make an even bigger splash in the online classifieds business by acquiring Monster Worldwide, which runs the popular online job site

MCI Restates Net income by $52M

A Reuters newswire article, via CNN/Money, reports that:

MCI, the long-distance phone company being acquired by Verizon Communications, on Thursday said it will reduce reported net income for the first nine months of 2005 by $52 million.

The cut is to correct an error related to contributions to the Federal Universal Service Fund, the company said.

Malaysian Youths Detained at Metal Concerts

Via Boing Boing.

On New Years Eve, a punk-rock concert organized by Paul's Place, a live jam establishment in Malaysia, was raided by police over accusations of "indecent behavior" and "engaging in Satanic black metal activities".

They detained the patrons of the concert (mainly youths with some professionals too), the organizers, and some of the performing band members (including some from Japan and Singapore).

They also detained some people who were eating at foodstalls nearby Paul's Place. The detainees were made to do drug tests and be interviewed by the media, which painted them as hooligans worshipping Satan (they even claimed that the concert was a replacement for a sex party in Langkawi). Among their claims of Satanism included black t-shirts, fanzines with "elements of violence, pornography, Judaism, and curse words like 'fuck'", and men and women mingling together in a place that served alcohol.

Fake Anti-Spyware Makers Settle Fraud Charges

Brian Krebs writes in Security Fix:

Two supposed anti-spyware companies that used misleading ads to frighten consumers into purchasing software to eliminate non-existent threats have settled deceptive trade practice charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The civil lawsuits targeted the makers of the "SpywareAssassin" and "Spykiller" software titles. According to the FTC's complaint, Spyware Assassin and its many "affiliate" marketers used Web sites and e-mail, banner and pop-up ads to drive users to its site, which offered free spyware scans.

EchoStar Says Settlement Unlikely in TiVo Suit

Via Reuters.

EchoStar Communications Corp. chief executive Charles Ergen on Thursday said he expects no settlement in its legal battle with TiVo Inc. and expects the suit to proceed to the courts.

TiVo and EchoStar, the No. 2 U.S. satellite television service, sued each other, each claiming the other infringed patents related to Digital Video Recorders, television set-top boxes that allow users to save programs to a built-in computer hard drive.

Web Site Publishes Stored P2P Photos

Jeremy Kirk writes in InfoWorld:

Call it a for the unwilling: Users of P-to-P (peer-to-peer) networks are finding photos stored in shared folders are being published on a new voyeuristic Web site that went live a few days ago, but the site may violate laws, a legal expert said. is perhaps another example of how the Internet can be both prying and surprising. Since it started Dec. 30, reams of searchable photos have been posted, running the gamut from the mundane to the eccentric to the slightly disturbing: an outdoor barbecue, a crowd at a Pearl Jam concert; a group of U.S. Army soldiers posing with actor Denzel Washington, a woman giving birth in an operating room.

US-VISIT Wants 10 Fingerprints for Security

Matthew D. Weigelt writes on

The Homeland Security Department will release a plan in the next few months that requires first-time U.S. visitors to provide 10 fingerprints as a means of tracking their entry into and exit from the United States, Jim Williams, director of DHS’ U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program, said today.

Williams said he intends to have the new plan transition eventually into a comprehensive strategy. “This is one piece of a multilayer system,” Williams said at a media roundtable forum.

HP Looking to Acquire CSC?

Jeffrey Burt writes in eWeek:

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s reported interest in buying Computer Sciences Corp. brings its share of benefits and risks, according to industry observers.

The move could rapidly grow HP's services and outsourcing business, giving the Palo Alto, Calif., company the size and breadth to compete with the likes of IBM Global Services, they said. However, if not done right, such a move could prove to be a major burden on a company that is trying to improve its financial situation.

Dozens of Federal Websites are Tracking Visitors Illegally

Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache writes in C|Net News:

Dozens of federal agencies are tracking visits to U.S. government Web sites in violation of long-standing rules designed to protect online privacy, a CNET investigation shows.

From the Air Force to the Treasury Department, government agencies are using either "Web bugs" or permanent cookies to monitor their visitors' behavior, even though federal law restricts the practice.

Akimbo Signs Distribution Deal with Hollywood Movie Studios

John Boudreau writes in The Mercury News:

San Mateo start-up Akimbo announced a deal Wednesday with Hollywood studios to distribute movies over the Internet to consumers' televisions, another sign of the Internet's role in changing how people will receive video entertainment.

In addition to its agreement with MovieLink, which is owned by half a dozen movie studios and distributes movies online, Akimbo said its box that sits atop a TV will be manufactured by Thomson and sold under the RCA brand beginning in April, an effort to get the 2 1/2-year-old company's service out to mainstream America.

Morgan Stanley Fires 4 Employees for Visiting Strip Club

Via The Register.

Morgan Stanley has fired four employees for visiting a strip club while attending a technology conference in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal.

The financial workers - all men - were technology industry specialists, said the newspaper report, and accompanied at least one client to the adult club.

The conference was run by Morgan Stanley and held last November. fix...

Via Enjoy!

IBM to Freeze $48B Pension Plan in 2008

An AP newswire article by Brian Bergstein, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Furthering corporate America's move away from pensions, International Business Machines Corp. said Thursday it will freeze its $48 billion pension plan in 2008 and instead enhance its 401(k) benefits for its 125,000 U.S. workers.

Nearly all IBM's U.S. employees — everyone hired before Jan. 1, 2005 — have pension benefits accruing under a traditional annuity-like plan or a cash-balance plan, which gives workers interest-bearing funds that they can take with them if they leave the company.

User Friendly: Yet More RIAA Shennanigans


Click for larger image.

Florida Slaps Spammer with $11 Billion Fine

A NewsFactor article by Robin Arnfield, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

CIS Internet Services, a Clinton, Iowa-based Internet service provider, has been awarded $11.2 billion in a court judgment against a Florida man who sent millions of unsolicited pieces of commercial e-mail.

Robert W. Kramer, III, the owner and operator of CIS Internet Services, filed a lawsuit against Miami, Florida-based James McCalla, alleging that over 280 million illegal spam e-mails were sent to CIS e-mail accounts.

The spam e-mails allegedly advertised mortgages, debt-consolidation services, and pornographic and gambling Web sites.

Microsoft Makes WMF Patch (MS06-001) Available

Via Microsoft.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-001
Vulnerability in Graphics Rendering Engine Could Allow Remote Code Execution (912919)
Published: January 5, 2006

This update resolves a newly-discovered, public vulnerability. The vulnerability is documented in the "Vulnerability Details" section of this bulletin.

Note This vulnerability is currently being exploited and was previously discussed by Microsoft in Microsoft Security Advisory 912840.

If a user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

We recommend that customers apply the update immediately.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

XM Satellite Debuts Portable Units

This, I think, is brilliant.

You won't normally see me spouting about any particular device or product, especially during CES, but this is just the thing (methnks) that satellite radio needs to garner subscribers.

God knows, they're not really going to be successful simply on their existing subscription plan -- there's just nothing compelling enough to warrant paying for it.

But talk about adaptive technology...

A Reuters newswire article by Franklin Paul and Ken Li, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. on Wednesday debuted a pair of portable, hand-held radio receivers that will also store digital songs, and forecast about 50 percent subscriber growth this year.

The two devices, called the Helix and the Inno and manufactured by Samsung Electronics and Pioneer Electronics respectively, will store and play MP3 files and those encoded using Windows Media software.

Netgear to Offer First Wi-Fi Phone for Skype Calling

Olga Kharif was right -- Cisco should be worried. So should everyone else in this space. This is consumer marketplace delivery to the max.

Shaking up the VoIP/WiFi marketplace -- I love it.

A Reuters newswire article, via eWeek, repots that:

Netgear Inc. and Skype, the Web-based calling company which is a unit of eBay Inc., said on Wednesday they plan to introduce the first wireless mobile telephone for Skype.

The Netgear Wi-Fi phone is designed to work wherever a consumer is connected to a wireless Internet access point—at home, in an office, cafe, public hotspot, or in cities where wireless access may be available citywide, the companies said.

United Airlines Fixes Computer Glitch

A Reuters newswire article, via C|Net News, reports that:

United Airlines said on Wednesday that a computer glitch that slowed passenger processing worldwide on Tuesday has been resolved. The No. 2 U.S. carrier said its computer system used for reservations and passenger check-in failed about 6 p.m. EST, but that it was operational by 10 p.m. EST.

During the computer failure, United relied on a backup system that called for workers to manually check in customers and hold some flights or rebook passengers on later flights.

Forget Intelligent Design: Atheist Takes On Priest in Court

What a whacked out world we live in.

Tech angle: none. But interesting nonetheless.

A Reuters newswire article, via CNN, reports that:

Forget the U.S. debate over intelligent design versus evolution.

An Italian court is tackling Jesus -- and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.

The case pits against each other two men in their 70s, who are from the same central Italian town and even went to the same seminary school in their teenage years.

Data Mining 101: Finding Subversives with Amazon Wishlists

Wow. This blew me away.

Via Boing Boing.

Frequent Make contributor Tom Owad just published a mind-blowing how-on on his website explaining how to mine Amazon's wish list database to uncover "subversives."

Using a pair of 5-year-old computers, two home DSL connections, 42 hours of computer time, and 5 man hours, I now had documents describing the reading preferences of 260,000 U.S. citizens.

I downloaded all the files to an external 120 GB Firewire drive in UFS format. The raw data occupied little more than 5 GB. I initially wanted to move all the files into a single directory to facilitate searching, but as the directory contents exceeded 100,000 items, the speed became glacially slow, so I kept the data divided into chunks of 25,000 wishlists.

Next comes the fun part – what books are most dangerous? So many to choose from. Here's a sample of the list I made. Feel free to make up your own list if you decide to try some data mining. Send it to the FBI. I'm sure they'll appreciate your help in fighting terrorism.


H5N1 News: Turkey Reports Two Human Cases of Bird Flu

A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Turkey said on Wednesday two people had been diagnosed with bird flu — the first human cases outside Southeast Asia and China — and a doctor said one of them, a 14-year-old boy, had died from the killer H5N1 strain.

A senior World Health Organization official said the boy had probably died from H5N1, which would mark a dramatic shift westwards for the deadly disease, but Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag gave no specific details and said samples had been sent to the WHO and Britain for more tests.

If the boy’s death is officially confirmed as being the result of H5N1, it would be the first outside eastern Asia where more than 70 people have been killed by the disease since 2003.

EFF: What About EMI's Copy-Protected CDs?

Via The EFF.

The EFF has today sent EMI Music an open letter [.pdf], urging it to:

  • Agree not to assert any claims under Title 17 of the U.S. Code (or similar statutes in other countries) against security researchers who have been, are, or will be working to identify security problems with copy protection technologies used on EMI compact discs;
  • Agree not to assert any claims under the end user license agreement (EULA) that accompanies copy protected EMI compact discs against security researchers who have been, are, or will be working to identify security problems with copy protection technologies used on EMI compact discs; and
  • Agree to take reasonable steps to ensure that vendors who supply copy protection technology to EMI also agree to waive any legal claims as described above against security researchers who have been, are, or will be working to identify security problems with copy protection technologies used on EMI compact discs.

More here.

Unisys Lands $308M TSA Deal

A Reuters newswire article, via C|Net News, reports that:

Unisys, a computer company and provider of information technology services, on Wednesday said that it has signed a $308 million one-year contract with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

The agreement includes some work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which supervises the TSA. The deal could be extended for up to another two years, giving it a potential value of as much as $750 million over three years.

China's News Agency to Deploy SkyStream IP Video Delivery Software


Xinhua News Agency, China's official news agency, has chosen SkyStream's IP video delivery solutions to upgrade its system for distributing news to 80 affiliates worldwide from its Beijing news center.

The new distribution system enables Xinhua to increase its data delivery from 500 MB to 5 GB per day to Xinhua's 150 subsidiaries across China and around the world.

Integrated Device Technology Powers China's First IPv6 Core Router


Integrated Device Technology announced that Tsinghua Bitway has selected the IDT 75K62100 network search engine to power the BitEngine 12416 core router, China's first core router with support for IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol.

The IDT NSE device helps Tsinghua Bitway's core router achieve 320 billion bits per second transfer rates, enabling high performance communications for many emerging IPv6-compliant applications.

Pranksters Sentenced for Calling Judge in the Wee Hours

An AP newswire article, via The Globe and Mail, reports that:

Two telephone pranksters picked the wrong guy for an early-morning call — a judge. Gabriel Wichman, 24, and Ryan Fleming, 23, pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanour charges of harassment.

Both were sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to write lengthy reports on the consequences of making prank calls.

The sentences were handed down by Iron County [Missouri] Associate Circuit Judge Kelly Parker. The victim of the prank was another judge, St. Francois County Associate Circuit Judge Thomas Ray.

China Launches Site to Report Corruption

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

China is putting its marathon anti-graft crackdown online, launching a Web site for the public to report corrupt officials.

The site adds to efforts to assure China's public that the ruling Communist Party takes complaints seriously even as many believe they face retaliation for reporting abuses.

The new site is run by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

MSN Phisher Pleads Guilty To Fraud

Thomas Claburn writes in InformationWeek:

The United States Attorney’s Office in Iowa yesterday said that Jayson Harris, 23, of Davenport, Iowa, pled guilty on Dec. 30 to computer fraud charges arising from a phishing scheme conducted from January 2003 through June 2004 on Microsoft's MSN Internet service.

"This was a phishing attack that targeted MSN customers with a fake MSN billing E-mail and advised them that they needed to update their information, their credit card number, in order to continue to enjoy their MSN experience and keep their account active," says Aaron Kornblum, Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Attorney.

The phishing E-mail falsely claimed that MSN customers would receive a 50% credit toward their next bill.

Lenovo to Put Cingular High-Speed Links in Laptops

A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Cingular Wireless said on Wednesday that computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. would embed links for its fastest wireless data service in laptop computers that will go on sale in the second quarter.

Cingular, a venture of AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp., recently began offering high-speed wireless services based on HSDPA technology in 52 U.S. communities. It has yet to announce mobile phone partners for the service.

Hook 'Em, Horns!

Good Luck, Longhorns!

Cisco, Scientific-Atlanta Deal Passes Legal Hurdle

John Blau writes in InfoWorld:

Network equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems has passed a critical milestone in its planned acquisition of cable TV technology company Scientific-Atlanta after the U.S. antitrust waiting period passed on Friday without regulators taking any action.

The U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission, which have merger review authority under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, made no announcements on Cisco's pending purchase of all Scientific-Atlanta's shares, Cisco said Tuesday in a statement.

The merger, however, is still subject to approval by antitrust authorities outside the U.S.

New WMF Trojan Being Distributed Via Spam

Click for larger image.

Mikko writes over on the F-Secure "News from the Lab" Blog:

There's a new trojan spam run underway, exploiting again the WMF vulnerability.

The exploit code is taken directly from the last Metasploit distribution. So the Metasploit exploit is assisting botnet herders and spyware distributors to take over the computers of users who still have no Microsoft patch to close the hole.

In this particular case the spammed message was a fake warning from Yale University professor about student vandalism that supposedly happened over the new year.

More here.

BellSouth Inks Satellite Video Deal With SES Global

A Reuters newswire article, via CNN/Money, reports that:

BellSouth, the No. 3 U.S. local telephone company, said Wednesday it signed a deal to receive satellite video services from SES Global as it moves ahead with test plans to deliver television over the Internet.

The deal with SES Global's U.S. arm, SES Americom, expands on a trial BellSouth began last year with Microsoft Corp. to launch a new Internet-based TV system in mid-2006. "SES Americom enables us to make additional content available to BellSouth's IPTV (Internet protocol television) trial participants as we continue our analysis of this technology," said Don Granger, president of BellSouth Entertainment, in a statement.

A Case Juniper Can't Win?

Olga Kharif writes on Businessweek Online:

Juniper Networks filed an unusual lawsuit recently. On Dec. 14 the networking equipment maker filed a complaint with the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara, accusing 10 posters on an Internet message board of libel. The message boards are hosted on the telecom news Web site As yet Juniper hasn't determined the defendants' legal names, and for now, it lists two of them under their aliases, "infranet_rulz" and "exJuniper981."

According to the complaint, in April, 2005, one poster allegedly wrote about Juniper that "the man at the helm seems to be paying [off] attorneys all over the bay area to cover up the scandal which resulted in the terminations of many at the top including VP of HR." Another post listed in the complaint states: "This is a very unethical company." Sound like your usual message board ravings making an elephant out of a mousehole, right? Juniper apparently didn't think so. As a result, it could be making its own elephant.

User Friendly: Yet More RIAA Shennanigans


Click for larger image.

'Smart' Internet Lamp Posts to be Tested in Scotland

Via The BBC.

Smart lampposts that could provide high-speed internet access are set to go on trial in Scotland.

The idea will be piloted later this month in Dundee but could spread further afield.

Backers of the project plan to install six of the solar-powered, internet-capable lights on a rooftop at the University of Abertay.

Later in the year they plan to install up to 4,000 more in a student village to be built for the university.

The idea will combine lampposts with solar energy and wi-fi wireless internet access. fix

Via Enjoy!

Indian Police Arrest Man in Scholar's Death

A New York Times article by Saritha Rai, via C|Net News, reports that:

Police in southern India have announced the arrest of a suspect in the shooting of a well-known scholar here as anxiety rises over the possibility of terrorist attacks aimed at the region's high-technology industries.

Heightening tensions across this relatively prosperous belt of the country, the police said Tuesday they had also uncovered plots to attack outsourcing companies after arresting four other suspects possibly connected to Islamic militant groups during the past two weeks.

Internet Poses Political Challenge to Asian Governments

An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Asian governments attempting to control the free flow of information face a struggle as their citizens increasingly turn to the Internet for alternative views.

As Internet penetration rates surge across Asia, governments, including those in China and Vietnam, are finding it harder to deal with political challenges arising from the availability of information through the Web, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) said.

Abramoff Plea Bargain Deal Opens Trove of Information

An AP newswire article by Pete Yost, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

In a deal that clears the way for the next phase of a widespread Capitol Hill corruption probe, lobbyist Jack Abramoff has agreed to tell prosecutors and the FBI about alleged bribes to lawmakers and their aides on issues ranging from Internet gambling to wireless phone service in the House.

The full extent of the investigation is not yet known, but Justice Department officials said Tuesday they intended to make use of the trove of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's possession as part of a probe that is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

In-Q-Tel to Name Amit Yoran as CEO

Ellen McCarthy writes in The Washington Post:

In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit venture-capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, plans to name local entrepreneur Amit Yoran its chief executive today.

Yoran, who previously served as the Department of Homeland Security's cyber-security chief, replaces Gilman Louie, who has run the organization since its 1999 launch. Louie resigned to spend more time with his family on the West Coast.

In-Q-Tel was established to help the CIA tap into private-sector technology companies with products that could be useful to intelligence agencies.

Missouri Researchers Find Largest Known Prime Number

An AP newswire article by Garance Burke, via USA Today, reports that:

Researchers at a Missouri university have identified the largest known prime number, officials said Tuesday.

The team at Central Missouri State University, led by associate dean Steven Boone and mathematics professor Curtis Cooper, found it in mid-December after programming 700 computers years ago.

The number that the team found is 9.1 million digits long. It is a Mersenne prime known as M30402457 — that's 2 to the 30,402,457th power minus 1.