Saturday, February 18, 2006

Call to Free Journalists Imprisoned in Cartoon Row

Via Reporters sans Frontières.

Reporters Without Borders today launched an appeal and a petition for the immediate release of six journalists thrown into prison in Yemen and Algeria for reprinting the controversial Prophet cartoons as part of informing their readers.

At least eleven journalists are being prosecuted in five countries and six have been jailed. Some face long prison sentences if convicted. Two editors in Jordan have been charged with provocation and encouraging disorder. Four journalists have been jailed in Yemen and charged under article 103 of the press law, which bans publication of anything that “harms Islam, denigrates monotheistic religion or a humanitarian belief.” Reporters Without Borders calls for all criminal cases among these to be dropped.

The Great Firewall of China: The Click That Broke a Government's Grip

Li Datong, shown outside the China Youth Daily, challenged a plan to
dock reporters' pay if government officials took issue with their stories.
The speed and power of the Internet helped launch a campaign that
ultimately compelled a government retreat from the plan.

Image source: Philip P. Pan / The Washington Post

Philip P. Pan writes in The Washington Post:

The top editors of the China Youth Daily were meeting in a conference room last August when their cell phones started buzzing quietly with text messages. One after another, they discreetly read the notes. Then they traded nervous glances.

Colleagues were informing them that a senior editor in the room, Li Datong, had done something astonishing. Just before the meeting, Li had posted a blistering letter on the newspaper's computer system attacking the Communist Party's propaganda czars and a plan by the editor in chief to dock reporters' pay if their stories upset party officials.

No one told the editor in chief. For 90 minutes, he ran the meeting, oblivious to the political storm that was brewing. Then Li announced what he had done.

More here. Fix

Via Enjoy!

China’s Virtual Cops Pinpoint Web Dissent

Mure Dickie writes on

With their big blue blinking eyes and their quirky personal websites, there is no denying the cuteness of the cartoon cops at the front line of China’s battle for control of the internet.

But the role played by Jingjing and Chacha, the animated online icons recently introduced by police in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, is entirely serious.

The cartoon couple patrol the city’s news and discussion websites to scare off anyone who might be tempted to use online anonymity to break China’s laws, says Chen Minli, director of the Shenzhen City Public Security Bureau’s Internet Surveillance Centre.

“Now internet users know the police are watching them,” Ms Chen says in an interview at the Bureau’s gleaming new 28-storey building in central Shenzhen.

More here.

Microsoft Frowns on iDefense Hacking Challenge

Ryan Naraine writes on eWeek:

Security intelligence outfit iDefense Labs is offering a $10,000 reward to any hacker who finds a worm hole in Microsoft's products, but the software maker isn't exactly thrilled by the gambit.

One day after iDefense, of Reston, Va., announced the bounty as part of a newly implemented quarterly hacking challenge, a spokesperson for Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., said paying for flaws is not the best way to secure software products.

User Friendly: Paper Cut or Hemmoroids?


Click for larger image.

Car Crash Victim’s Arm Found, Cellphone Intact

Some part of the twisted humorist in me made me post this. Enjoy!

Via Gizmodo.

If this isn’t a reason to get a Bluetooth headset, I don’t know what is. A Lexington, Kentucky woman and her daughter flipped over in their SUV and rolled into the berm. Passers-by stopped to help and found the woman, her arm missing, pinned in the car.

A quick-thinking driver placed a tourniquet on the woman’s stump and they later found her arm—still clutching a cellphone. Both victims survived the crash.

Dilbert: The Land of Unrealistic Assumptions

Click for larger image.

Huawei: China’s Telco Titan Grows

Via Red Herring.

At first blush, Huawei Technologies, China’s leading networking and telecommunications equipment vendor, looks an awful lot like the motherland in miniature.

Company and country alike are transforming the global competitive landscape with the rock-bottom prices their cheap, seemingly inexhaustible talent pools make possible. Both invest in R&D, aiming to move beyond the copy model. Both engender admiration and distrust. And just as Beijing rattles Washington with aggressive deal-making for energy and resources, Huawei rattles Cisco with its headlong drive into global data communications markets.

Last, both country and company are dogged by reputations for dealing with unsavory regimes, secrecy, and playing fast and loose with other people’s intellectual property (IP).

More here.

A Interview with 180Solutions' CEO

Brian Krebs writes on Security Fix:

As I wander the halls of the 180solutions mother ship in Bellevue, Wash., I notice that each of the company's departments is fitted with large, wall-mounted plasma screen televisions that display graphs charting 180's daily and weekly sales and revenue numbers. The display nearest the marketing department showed that 180 pulled in more than $1 million in the past week alone serving ads to people who have its adware installed on their computers. Today's estimated revenue is slightly more than $100,000; the graph showing how much the company has actually earned so far today reads $2,966, but then again it is just after 10 a.m.

Shortly after arriving at 180, I sit down with the company's co-founder and chief executive, Keith Smith. I ask Smith about the criticism that his company's software too often ends up on PCs without the owner's knowledge or permission, and how he thinks the company's "users" view the quality of their software.

Much more here.

H5N1 News: Deadly Strain of Bird Flu Virus Hits India, France

A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

India and France each announced their first cases of bird flu on Saturday as tests confirmed birds infected with the deadly H5N1 strain.

The French government on Saturday confirmed the country's first case of the lethal H5N1 bird flu virus, following tests on a wild duck found dead in a southeastern village. The duck was found Monday in a bird reserve some 20 miles northeast of Lyon, France's third-largest city, the Agriculture Ministry said.

In India, eight people were being checked for the disease after tests on poultry in a western state showed they were infected with the deadly H5N1 strain. About 50,000 birds have died in the area in the last few days and samples sent to a government laboratory confirmed bird flu in the western Maharashtra state, local animal husbandry minister Anees Ahmed told Reuters.

TechWeb: Cisco Adds SIP to Call Manager, Finally

An TechWeb article by David Greenfield, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Next month, Cisco will introduce the next release of Call Manager, version 5.0, at the VoiceCon show in Orlando. Lots of changes are to be expected, including support for Linux in addition to Windows Server, and finally support for SIP clients.

That last fact is a big deal. Unless you've been comatose for the past few years or otherwise blissfully ignorant of the VoIP industry, you know Call Manager is the only major IP PBX to not offer SIP client support. Cisco has offered SIP trunking and offers a SIP server for the carrier market, but has no such offering for the enterprise.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Come on Down: Dead-Eye Dick's Gun Club


"I want to extend a warm welcome to all my fellow pudgy, Vietnam-avoiding tough guys! If you are a crony in good standing, you may be eligible to embark on a private hunting outing with me – 'Deadeye Dick.' You will accrue priceless memories of us pumping our manly rods of fire-breathing steel - assuming you survive!"

Despite Fears, a Dubai Company Will Help Run Ports in New York


Patrick McGeehan writes in The New York Times:

The Bush administration dismissed the security concerns of local officials yesterday and restated its approval of a deal that will give a company based in Dubai a major role in operating ports in and around New York City.

Representatives of the White House and the Treasury Department said they had given their approval for Dubai Ports World to do business in the United States after a rigorous review. The decision, they said, was final.

Dubai Ports World is buying the British company that currently operates the cruise-ship terminal on the West Side of Manhattan, one of the biggest cargo terminals in New York Harbor, and terminals in Philadelphia, Baltimore and other big ports.

Figure that shit out. More here. Fix

Via Enjoy!

NBC Universal to Web Sites: Pull Video clips

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

NBC Universal is leaning on popular Web sites engaged in video sharing to remove hundreds of copyrighted video clips derived from its TV networks.

A spokeswoman for the conglomerate confirmed that video-laden sites like are complying with warnings issued this month by its legal department forbidding transmission of the clips, including the popular "Lazy Sunday" skit from NBC's "Saturday Night Live" that became a hit on the Internet.

Google May Have to Fight Second Subpoena

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

Google may be about to face a second round of subpoenas for search-related information.

If the U.S. Justice Department is successful in obtaining a week's worth of search terms from Google, which it demanded as part of an attempt to defend a 1998 Internet pornography law, a second round of subpoenas is shaping up to be far more intrusive.

The American Civil Liberties Union warned Friday that if the first subpoena is granted--giving the government's expert the information to use to evaluate the effectiveness of porn filters--its legal assault on the same antipornography law will require it to target Google as well.

"If the government utilizes the information in any manner, we're very likely going to need to do follow-up discovery," ACLU attorney Aden Fine said.

More here.

Yemeni Editor Imprisoned Over the Prophet Muhammad Cartoons Discusses Press Freedom

Yemenis protest in Sanaa over the publication of the cartoons.
Image source: Newsweek / Khaled Fazaa / AFP-Getty Images

Rob Nordland writes in Newsweek:

Mohammed al-Asaadi is an improbable martyr to a free press. As the editor in chief of the generally pro-government Yemen Observer, a weekly English-language newspaper owned by Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh's media adviser, al-Asaadi has not been party to the sort of controversies that have seen many Yemeni journalists jailed in recent years.

But when his newspaper ran an article about the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, Asaadi decided to reprint the cartoons—albeit with a large X censoring most of them, and an article denouncing them. On Feb. 11, he was arrested and charged with insulting the Prophet. He is now in jail in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, awaiting trial.

NEWSWEEK arranged for a visitor to take a cell phone to him today, and NEWSWEEK's Rod Nordland interviewed him by phone.

Read the interview here.

Icahn, Time Warner Reach Deal

Via Red Herring.

Financier Carl Icahn and Time Warner reached a settlement in their long-running dispute on Friday, with the billionaire renouncing his call to break up the media group in return for a pledge by the company to take measures to boost shareholder value.

Mr. Icahn, who was also looking to propose a slate of directors who favored his breakup proposals, abandoned his quest for the board seats as part of the agreement.

Mr. Icahn and Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons met several times during the week as they hunted for a settlement. Ultimately, Mr. Icahn proved willing to back down from some of his biggest demands including splitting the company into four parts.

Time Warner in turn agreed to boost its share repurchase program to $20 billion from $12.5 billion. The New York-based media giant also pledged to cut $1 billion in costs.

More here.

Child Pornographer Gets Life Sentence

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

A federal program that identifies alleged child molesters by publicizing their photographs has led to a life sentence for a five-time sex offender.

James A. Reigle Jr., 46, was convicted in Baltimore federal court in October and sentenced Friday for sexually exploiting minors to produce child pornography, conspiracy to transport child pornography and shipping child pornography.

“As far as we know, this is in fact the first life sentence imposed for a child pornography offense,” U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said.

Houston Police Chief Wants Surveillance Cameras in Private Homes


Houston's police chief is suggesting putting surveillance cameras in apartment complexes, downtown streets and even private homes.

Chief Harold Hurtt today said it's another way of combatting crime amid a shortage of officers.

Houston is dealing with too many police retirements, too few recruits and a population increase of about 150-thousand hurricane refugees.

RIAA Dirty Tricks: Gathering Private Info On Kids Of Accused File Sharer

This is so contemptable that I have to share it with you in it's entirety. For embedded links in the article, please visit the source --

Mike Masnick writes over on

The recording industry certainly has a history of dirty tricks when it comes to the various lawsuits they're involved in. Last year, for example, it came out that they had stalked the CEO of Sharman Networks (makers of Kazaa) with a 24-hour surveillance program that lasted several months.

The latest is that they're apparently trying to intimated Patricia Santangelo by investigating her kids. While certainly not the first person to stand up to the RIAA when accused of file sharing she claims she didn't do, Patricia Santangelo has become quite a thorn in the side of the RIAA since her case was revealed. She's been publicly standing up to the RIAA and won't back down -- like many others who initially resisted, but eventually settled. Even after losing her original lawyer, she has continued to fight.

The RIAA's latest tactic, as submitted by Jon, is to reveal to Santangelo and her new lawyer that they've been investigating her children, and have been able to collect a lot of non-public information. The RIAA will probably claim that the info is related to the case, but it certainly borders on using scare tactics, and trying to intimidate Santangelo into backing down.

Houston Posts RFP for Muni Wi-Fi Network

Dwighht Silverman writes on the Houston Chronicle TechBlog:

The City of Houston today made public its formal Request for Proposals for a planned citywide WiFi network.

Under this RFP, the network would be financed privately, similar to the way Philadelphia is working with Earthlink, or what Google is doing in San Francisco. The city would provide the mounting structures for WiFi radios, such as light poles.

More here.

Botmaster: Invasion of the Computer Snatchers

Brian Krebs writes in The Washington Post:

In the six hours between crashing into bed and rolling out of it, the 21-year-old hacker has broken into nearly 2,000 personal computers around the globe. He slept while software he wrote scoured the Internet for vulnerable computers and infected them with viruses that turned them into slaves.

Now, with the smoke of his day's first Marlboro curling across the living room of his parents' brick rambler, the hacker known online as "0x80" (pronounced X-eighty) plops his wiry frame into a tan, weathered couch, sets his new laptop on the coffee table and punches in a series of commands. At his behest, the commandeered PCs will begin downloading and installing software that will bombard their users with advertisements for pornographic Web sites. After the installation, 0x80 orders the machines to search the Internet for other potential victims.

The young hacker, who has agreed to be interviewed only if he isn't identified by name or home town, takes a deep drag of his smoke and leans back against the couch to exhale. He smiles. This is his day job, and his work is finished in less than two minutes. In two weeks, he will receive a $300 check from one of the online marketing companies that pays him for his services.

More here.

Google Criticizes Government in Court Papers

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

Google Inc. on Friday criticized the Bush administration's demand to examine millions of its users' Internet search requests as a misguided fishing expedition that threatens to ruin the company's credibility and reveal its closely guarded secrets.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company delivered its indignant critique in a 25-page brief that marked its initial legal response to the U.S. Justice Department's attempt to force the online search engine leader to comply with a 6-month-old subpoena.

The Justice Department has until Feb. 24 to respond to the papers that Google filed Friday. A hearing for oral arguments is scheduled March 13 before U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, Calif.

Japanese School Kids + Roboguards = Crazy Delicious

Image source: Gizmodo

So very ultra-hippy cool.

Via Gizmodo.

An elementary school in Tokyo has hired a 3.2-foot, 66-pound yellow guard robot to protect against baddies… and more importantly, it can scan students.

Get within 13 feet of the lovable robotyke, and it’ll hold out its hand to ask for retina scan and blood sample your school ID that has an imbedded IC chip. Once inspection is passed, the guard greets you by name and informs your teacher that you’re on your way.

Don’t have an ID? Stay there while it calls a staff member. Don’t try to escape its intimidating authority—the Japanese put cameras in their roboguards.

Scientists Find First Neutrinos in Antartic Project

An AP newswire article by Kozo Mizoguchi, via ABC News, reports that:

Hoping to unlock the mysteries of black holes and the Big Bang, a team of scientists from Japan and seven other countries has apparently detected its first neutrinos in a multiyear project underway in Antarctica.

The project, dubbed "IceCube," was launched in 2002, but only detected its first neutrinos on Jan. 29, recording the faint flashes of light given off by the particles when they interact with electrons in water molecules, team member Shigeru Yoshida, a cosmic-ray physics professor at Chiba University, said Thursday.

Yoshida said it was the first time neutrinos had been captured in a natural environment outside a laboratory, but cautioned that the results still needed to be studied and confirmed.

Ebola Vaccine Passes First Human Safety Test

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

The first vaccine designed to prevent infection with the lethal Ebola virus has passed initial safety tests in people and has shown promising signs that it may indeed protect people from contracting the disease, government scientists reported Friday.

Just 21 people received the experimental vaccine in this early stage testing. Much more research is necessary to prove whether the vaccine will pan out, cautioned lead researcher Dr. Gary Nabel of the National Institutes of Health.

But the results are encouraging for U.S. scientists who worry not only that the horrific virus might be used as a terrorist weapon, but also note that natural outbreaks in Africa seem to be on the rise.

U.S. Government Fighting Farm Fraud With Satellites

A CNBC article by Jane Wells, via MSNBC, reports that:

Satellite photos are a common sight on the Internet these days, and most people use them to look at their homes, or cities from space. But they’re also being used to fight fraud.

The risk management agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is using very detailed satellite photos provided by the U.S. geological survey and two Landsat satellites to monitor for government crop insurance fraud, claiming it is saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year.

Traffic to NBC Olympics Web Site Rises

Lindsey Kildow crashed out and Janica Kostelic may be too sick to complete
the women's combined DH after finishing second in Friday's slalom.

Image source:

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

NBC's Olympics Web site, carrying more video of competition than ever before, is seeing increases in usage even as television viewership is down.

The site already drew more than 167 million page views, surpassing the 145 million page views during the entire 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City with more than a week of competition left in Turin, Italy, according to NBC Universal.

Avici to Slash 45% of Workforce

Stephen Lawson writes on InfoWorld:

Avici Systems Inc., a maker of large routers for service providers, will cut 45 percent of its workforce and focus on a few core features in a bid to achieve a profit.

Layoffs and other cost-cutting will start immediately and continue over the next several months, the North Billerica, Massachusetts, company announced on Thursday. Both full-time employees and contractors will be cut from a workforce that totaled about 300 at the end of last year, President and Chief Executive Officer William Leighton said on a conference call Thursday.

KPN, Siemens Under Scrutiny

Ray Le Maistre writes on Light Reading:

All European telecom eyes were on Germany and the Netherlands today as German vendor Siemens Communications Group and Dutch incumbent carrier KPN Telecom NV countered market scuttlebutt about their respective futures.

KPN was under scrutiny following a Dutch newspaper report linking it (again) with Telefónica SA . The report suggested the Spanish incumbent could link up with a business partner to make a bid for KPN, which has had the "For Sale" sign hoisted above its headquarters since the Dutch government relinquished its Golden Share, which had previously protected the carrier from hostile takeover bids.

Sony's UMD: Slumping Performance

Image source: Gizmodo

Via Gizmodo.

Another Sony proprietary media has deemed itself a failure. Variety is reporting that many studios cutting down on UMD releases in the future. Studios include Sony Pictures (??), Paramount and Warner. The studios are saying that the UMD is a failing because the amount of “piracy” happening.

I like to think it is failing because it is a bad proprietary media format.

Hear, hear.

SNL Cult Hit Yanked From YouTube

The 'Lazy Sunday: Chronicles of Narnia' video is still on the Official NBC/SNL website.

Anne Broache writes on C|Net News:

At YouTube, a site where people can upload and share personal video clips, at least one version of the file counted more than 5 million downloads--and multiple versions had appeared on the site.

On Thursday, YouTube visitors found the videos had been deleted.

"NBC recently contacted YouTube and asked us to remove 'Saturday Night Live's' 'Lazy Sunday: Chronicles of Narnia' video," the San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which formally launched its site last December, said in a notice posted to its blog. "We know how popular that video is, but YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders."

Atari Creeps Closer to Death

Chris Morris writes on CNN/Money's "Game Over":

Things haven't been going well for Atari for quite some time now, but they've just taken a turn for the worse.

The publisher, once the premiere name in the gaming industry, reportedly plans to lay off a portion of its North American staff (which currently consists of 250 people) and plans to sell all of its internal studios. All of this comes as Atari's latest high profile release – "Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure" - earns less than stellar reviews from video game critics.

More here.

Japanese Bank to Issue Vein Reading Bank Cards

Image source: Engadget

Thomas Ricker writes over on Engadget:

In what has become the bio-security du jour in Japan, Norinchukin follows banking security trailblazers Suruga in announcing new biometric bank cards that identify patrons by the pattern of veins in the palm of their hands.

The cards will be issued starting this October and will include embedded, integrated circuits to assist in processing bank transactions and presumably to alert the local samuraibot on duty after your veins have been harvested to access your account.

RadioShack Plans to Close Between 400 and 700 Stores

Kelly Hill writes on RCR Wireless News:

RadioShack Corp. announced a “turnaround” effort that includes the company shutting down between 400 and 700 company stores. The announcement came as RadioShack reported sluggish fourth-quarter results that were hampered by wireless sales that came in below forecasts.

The news appeared to anger investors, who sent the company’s stock down almost 8 percent in trading to around $19.21 per share.

Verizon Wireless Acquires Cal-One Cellular

Kelly Hill writes on RCR Wireless News:

Verizon Wireless has snapped up a small cellular operator in Northern California, Cal-One Cellular LP, which operates under the Cal North Wireless brand. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Verizon Wireless said the deal includes Cal North’s 49 cellular sites and related equipment as well as its spectrum license, which covers a population of about 214,000 people in the counties of Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou and Trinity. The area includes a 70-mile section of Interstate 5 and Humboldt State University. Cal North has more than 18,000 customers.

MySpace to Hire 'Safety Czar'

Via Red Herring. plans to hire a safety czar after additional schools banned the red-hot social networking site over concerns that online predators can easily contact young people through the personal information they include in their profiles.

News Corporation acquired the site last July after paying $580 million for its parent company, Intermix Media.

Rumsfeld: U.S. Losing War For Hearts And Minds


Al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups have poisoned the Muslim public’s view of the United States through deft use of the Internet and other modern communications methods that the American government has failed to master, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday.

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Rumsfeld sounded a theme he frequently raises as a key to eventually winning the global war on terrorism: countering anti-Western messages from Islamic extremists.

“Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today’s media age, but for the most part we — our country, our government — has not adapted,” he said.

More here.

Internet Pharmacy Conviction Overturned, Video Testimony Deemed 'Unconstitutional'

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

Anton Pusztai and Anita Yates were indicted in July 2000 on charges of running an illegal pharmacy--a Web site called the Norfolk Men's Clinic--and operating a drug repackaging facility that was not registered with the federal government. They pleaded not guilty, and the case went to trial in Alabama.

That's where an unusual twist took place. Prosecutors asked the trial judge to approve the testimony of two witnesses from Australia through a live, two-way video conference.

After a jury convicted the two defendants on all charges, they appealed and said their Sixth Amendment right to "be confronted with the witnesses" against them was violated.

Iron Mountain Had No Disaster Plan?

Chris Mellor writes on TechWorld:

Canadian company Simmons Mattress has switched disaster recover supplier from Iron Mountain to EVault. The reason given is that when Simmons was hit with a region-wide power blackout in August, 2003, its disaster recovery (DR) supplier, Iron Mountain, was hit by the same blackout.

DR companies store backup tapes in secure repositories. When clients are struck with a disaster that knocks out IT facilities they resume operations on backup IT kit using data from the backup tapes. In this case the backup tapes could not be supplied because Iron Mountain was struck by the same power outage and had no alternate power supply facilities. It rendered the Simmons disaster recovery plan and the ready-and-waiting hot site useless.

Man Charged Over Oscar 'Piracy'

Via The BBC.

A man accused of uploading a copy of the biopic film Walk the Line has been charged with copyright infringement.

Luis Ochoa, 25, of Corona, California, faces up to a year in jail and a fine, if found guilty.

Prosecutors say Mr Ochoa uploaded a "screener" version of the Oscar- nominated film, which was intended for an Academy voter.

Mr Ochoa was arrested after the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) set up a web sting, they added.

The Sony Bean is Dead! Long Live The Bean!

Image source: Gizmodo

Via Gizmodo.

Sony has discontinued it’s sexy, sly bean MP3 player, hinting that it may have something better up its sleeve—debatable—and that this might not be the end of the bean—debatable.

The Bean appeared last April to great fanfare and promptly fell off the radar as the Nano sucked up its market share.

Toon: 'Meow, My Friend.'

Click for larger image.

Windy City Wi-Fi Proposals Solicited

A UPI newsbrief, via, reports that:

The city of Chicago plans to seek proposals for a citywide WiFi system that would be built without taxpayer funds.

Officials plan to ask tech companies to submit their proposals in the spring for building the huge wireless Internet access network.

IGF: Show Me The Money

Kieren McCarthy writes over on his blog:

We're drawing to the end of the two-day IGF formation conference. Chairman Nitin Desai will shortly give a summary of what he thinks has been decided.

Mr Desai will then write a report to UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who will make some decisions based on the report. And then there will be a second meeting maybe in April, where the remaining matters will be decided.

The big, big problem here is one word: money.

More here.

On Private Web Site, Wal-Mart Chief Talks Tough

Steven Greenhouse and Michael Barbaro write in The New York Times:

In a confidential, internal Web site for Wal-Mart's managers, the company's chief executive, H. Lee Scott Jr., seemed to have a rare, unscripted moment when one manager asked him why "the largest company on the planet cannot offer some type of medical retirement benefits?"

Mr. Scott first argues that the cost of such benefits would leave Wal-Mart at a competitive disadvantage but then, clearly annoyed, he suggests that the store manager is disloyal and should consider quitting.

More here.

Agreement in House to Hold Inquiry on Surveillance

Eric Lichtblau and Sheryl Gay Stolberg write in The New York Times:

Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday that they had agreed to open a Congressional inquiry prompted by the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program. But a dispute immediately broke out among committee Republicans over the scope of the inquiry.

Representative Heather A. Wilson, the New Mexico Republican and committee member who called last week for the investigation, said the review "will have multiple avenues, because we want to completely understand the program and move forward."

But an aide to Representative Peter Hoekstra, the Michigan Republican who leads the committee, said the inquiry would be much more limited in scope, focusing on whether federal surveillance laws needed to be changed and not on the eavesdropping program itself.

More here.

User Friendly: Googlefied


Click for larger image.

Pelican Bay Inmates Allegedly Had Access To Personal Data

An AP newswire article, via CBS News, reports that:

Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison gained access to personal information about employees, including their Social Security numbers, birth dates and pension account information, the state prison guards' union said Thursday.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association said inmates also had access to prison blueprints in a warehouse where the confidential information was stored.

Union President Mike Jimenez said the fact that inmates worked in the warehouse violated a law barring the Department of Corrections from assigning prisoners to jobs that give them access to others' personal information.

More here.

Attack Code Out for Latest Microsoft Flaws

The SANS ISC also confirms this, as well as stating that exploits are now "in-the-wild" for both MS06-005 and MS06-006.

Greg Sandoval writes on C|Net News:

Two examples of computer code that exploit a flaw in Windows Media Player have become available only days after Microsoft released a patch to fix the bug.

The "proof-of-concept" exploits that take advantage of a flaw in the media player were posted on the Web over the past couple of days. The flaw, rated "critical" by Microsoft, could enable an attacker to seize control of a vulnerable computer system.

The appearance of proof-of concept code is usually a sign that actual attacks are not far off. Microsoft, when it released its patch Tuesday, urged users to upgrade their systems as soon as possible.

Voter Databases Must Be Secured, Report Says

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

American history does not lack political entrepreneurs who invented novel ways to manipulate the results of elections, from Tammany Hall in the 19th century to Richard Daley's Chicago Democratic machine a century later.

But those party bosses never dreamed of computerized databases of voter records that would be vulnerable to even more stealthy and undetectable forms of manipulation by political operatives. Such centralized databases are now mandated by a federal law, and state election officials are scrambling to digitize reams of paper documents to meet its deadlines.

A professional organization of computer scientists warns, though, that state election officials may not have taken proper security precautions to guard against fraud. In a report released Thursday, the scientists call for more aggressive steps to protect the security, privacy and reliability of those databases.

More here.

Wells Fargo: Online Consent -- Or Else

David Lazarus writes on

Thousands of Wells Fargo customers received a rude awakening this week when they attempted to access their bank accounts via the Internet.

A box opened up on their computer screens seemingly declaring that if the customer wants to continue banking online, he or she has to agree to allow Wells Fargo to make all future communications electronically, not on paper.

Accepting this and other conditions then causes a second box to open, this time containing an 11,000-word document written in frequently thick legalese.

More here.

Skype Acccused of Google Adwords 'Heavy-Handedness'

John E. Dunn writes on TechWorld:

Skype has been accused of heavy-handedness after it succeeded in stopping third-parties from using the word “Skype” in Google adword advertising.

One such company – German outfit iPoque – sells a network device to monitor for and block Skype on corporate networks. A fortnight ago, after it started running a campaign using Google keywords such as “block Skype” and “Skype filter”, it received an e-mail from Google's operation in Germany stating that Skype had asserted its right to block these phrases.

Canada: Overbilled Phone Subscribers Won't Be Repaid A Penny

Simon Tuck writes in The Globe and Mail:

The CRTC said yesterday that Canadian telephone customers have been overbilled to the tune of $652.7-million over the past few years, but the money will not be going back to them.

The federal regulator ruled instead that telecommunications companies such as Bell Canada and Telus Corp. should use most of the money -- equivalent to about $50 a customer -- to expand offerings in underserved markets, primarily rural and remote communities.

OSx86 Project Forum Shut Down After DMCA Violation Claim

Tony Smith writes on The Register:

The OSx86 Project, a website set up to co-ordinate coders' efforts to get the Intel version of Mac OS X to run on any x86-based hardware, has been partially shut down. The project's principals pulled the site's forum after being served with a cease and desist notice alleging violation of the US' Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"We're sorry to report that despite our best efforts, the OSx86 Project has been served with a DMCA violation notice," the site's front page now reads. "The forum will be unavailable while we evaluate its contents to remove any violations present."

Apple Hackers Encounter a Poetic Easter Egg

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

Apple Computer Inc. has resorted to a poetic broadside in the inevitable cat-and-mouse game between hackers and high-tech companies.

The maker of Macintosh computers had anticipated that hackers would try to crack its new OS X operating system built to work on Intel Corp.'s chips and run pirated versions on non-Apple computers. So, Apple developers embedded a warning deep in the software — in the form of a poem.

Indeed, a hacker encountered the poem recently, and a copy of it has been circulating on Mac-user Web sites this week.

Apple confirmed Thursday it has included such a warning in its Intel-based computers since it started selling them in January.

More here.

Internet Muck-Raker Challenges China's Censors

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

Chinese Communist Party elders and U.S. lawmakers fired shots at China's powerful censors this week, but Li Xinde says muck-raking campaigners like himself are undermining the country's barriers to free speech every day.

Li is one of just a handful of Internet investigative reporters, exposing corrupt officials and injustice on his China Public Opinion Surveillance Net.

Then he spreads his often outrageous, sometimes gruesome stories on some of the 49 blogs he uses to slip past censors.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Homeland Security Official Suggests Outlawing Rootkits


Joris Evers writes on C|Net News:

Perhaps the best way to deal with rootkits is to outlaw them.

At least when it comes to such mishaps as the Sony BMG Music Entertainment fiasco, that's what an official from the Department of Homeland Security suggested Thursday.

"The recent Sony experience shows us that we need to be thinking about how we ensure that consumers are not surprised by what their software programs do," Jonathan Frenkel, director of law enforcement policy at the U.S Department of Homeland Security said in a speech here at the RSA Conference 2006.

More here.

Policing Porn Not Part of Job Description

Cameron W. Barr writes in The Washington Post:

Two uniformed men strolled into the main room of the Little Falls library in Bethesda one day last week and demanded the attention of all patrons using the computers. Then they made their announcement: The viewing of Internet pornography was forbidden.

The men looked stern and wore baseball caps emblazoned with the words "Homeland Security." The bizarre scene unfolded Feb. 9, leaving some residents confused and forcing county officials to explain how employees assigned to protect county buildings against terrorists came to see it as their job to police the viewing of pornography.

After the two men made their announcement, one of them challenged an Internet user's choice of viewing material and asked him to step outside, according to a witness. A librarian intervened, and the two men went into the library's work area to discuss the matter. A police officer arrived. In the end, no one had to step outside except the uniformed men.

More here.

Bill Would Prohibit U.S. Firms From Putting Servers in China

Grant Gross writes on InfoWorld:

A U.S. lawmaker on Thursday introduced legislation that would bar U.S. Internet companies from locating Web servers inside "Internet-restricting" countries such as China and Vietnam, with prison sentences for those who don't comply.

Representative Christopher Smith's bill, called the Global Online Freedom Act, would also prohibit U.S. search engine companies from altering the results of searches in counties such as China, and would prohibit U.S. Internet companies from giving personally identifiable customer information to the governments of Internet-restricting countries, expect for "legitimate" law enforcement requests reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

More here.

Skype Could Force End to Wiretapping Calls?

I kind of doubt it.

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Even as the U.S. government is embroiled in a debate over the legality of wiretapping, the fastest-growing technology for Internet calls appears to have the potential to make eavesdropping a thing of the past.

Skype, the Internet calling service recently acquired by eBay Inc., provides free voice calls and instant messaging between users. Unlike other Internet voice services, Skype calls are encrypted — encoded using complex mathematical operations. That apparently makes them impossible to snoop on, though the company leaves the issue somewhat open to question.

World Cup Passes on 'Smart' Soccer Ball

Brandi Chastain and her soccer-ball breasts in 'Gear'.
Detail from October 1999 issue of 'Gear' magazine.
Image source: The Village Voice

John Blau writes on InfoWorld:

World Cup soccer players should be happy: A new chip-enabled soccer ball won't be ready for use at the World Cup soccer tournament in Germany this June, according to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The world soccer body also took a pass on using the ball at the FIFA Club World Championship games in Tokyo this past December. "The technology isn't perfect yet," says Jan Runau, a spokesman with sportswear manufacturer Adidas-Salomon AG, which supplies the official game balls for the tournaments. "We have to be 1,000 percent certain that it works perfectly before we can deploy it in professional soccer games." He declined to say when that would be.

Microsoft Driver Flaw Saps Battery Strength

Tom Krazit writes on C|Net News:

Microsoft has confirmed the existence of a flaw in its USB 2.0 drivers for Windows XP Service Pack 2 that can cause a notebook to consume power at a faster-than-expected rate when using a peripheral device.

The issue, first uncovered by Tom's Hardware two weeks ago, appears to affect certain Intel-based notebooks running Windows XP Service Pack 2. When a peripheral device was connected to a USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 port, the notebook's battery life plunged at a greater rate than would normally be expected from the use of a peripheral such as a mouse or storage key. At the time that details of the flaw were published, Intel denied its processors or chipsets were the responsible for the issue. And Microsoft refused to confirm to CNET until yesterday that the software company was responsible for the battery performance problem.

More here.

Ancient Tech: Greek Hiker Finds 6,500-Year-Old Pendant

Another one of my passions is archeology, and I've been thinking about starting a 'fergie's archeology blog'. What do you think? Would you read it? Please feel free to leave a comment here. Thanks!

An undated handout picture showing a 6,500-year-old gold jewel
that has been picked up in a northern Greek field by a hiker who handed it
over to authorities, an archaeologist said in the northern Greek
port city of Thessaloniki on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006.
Image source: ABC / AP Photo / Culture Ministry

An AP newswire article by Costas Kantouris, via ABC News, reports that:

A Greek hiker found a 6,500-year-old gold pendant in a field and handed it over to authorities, an archaeologist said Thursday.

The flat, roughly ring-shaped prehistoric pendant probably had religious significance and would have been worn on a necklace by a prominent member of society.

Only three such gold artifacts have been discovered during organized digs, archaeologist Georgia Karamitrou-Mendesidi, head of the Greek archaeological service in the northern region where the discovery was made, told The Associated Press.

More here.

India’s Outsourcing Industry Is Facing a Labor Shortage

Saritha Rai writes in The New York Times:

India’s leadership in global outsourcing may be in jeopardy unless it increases its supply of skilled workers, according to executives gathered here for an foindustry meeting.

Experts at the meeting of Nasscom, the country’s outsourcing group, said Thursday that an incipient skills shortage was the biggest threat to the industry’s blazing growth.

H5N1 News: Bird Flu Hits Slovenia -- Where in EU Next?

A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Slovenia became the latest European Union country to detect H5N1 bird flu and others awaited results on Thursday as an EU medical expert said the virus was likely to spread further.

The virus was first confirmed in the European Union on Saturday, when Greece and Italy said they had found it in wild swans. Austria and Germany followed on Tuesday.

White House Agrees to FISA Changes

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts said Thursday he has worked out an agreement with the White House to change U.S. law regarding the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program and provide more information about it to Congress.

“We are trying to get some movement, and we have a clear indication of that movement,” Roberts, R-Kan., said.

Without offering specifics, Roberts said the agreement with the White House provides “a fix” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and offers more briefings to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

More here.

Update: Senate Overwhelmingly Backs Patriot Act

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, report sthat:

The Senate overwhelmingly rejected an effort Thursday to block renewing the Patriot Act, the 2001 law passed weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks to help the government hunt down terrorists.

The 96-3 vote was no suprise to Sen. Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who was the lone senator to oppose the law four and a half years ago and is the chief obstacle to extending 16 provisions now due to expire March 10.

Feingold, who is exploring seeking his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, plans to make the Senate spend several more days on the bill and complained that Majority Leader Bill Frist had used procedural maneuvers to prevent him from trying to amend the bill.

More here.

Dilbert: Ridiculous Assumptions

Click for larger image.

Congressmen Propose Internet Gambling Legislation

Via Red Herring.

Two congressmen proposed on Thursday the Internet Gambling Act, a piece of legislation that was last defeated two years ago but will be reintroduced to fill a blank spot in U.S. law pertaining to online gambling.

Two Virginia congressmen, Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and Rick Boucher (D-Virginia), said they are reintroducing the law to crack down on “the growing problem” of illegal, offshore gambling, as well as illegal gambling that crosses state lines over phone connections and the Internet.

Gambling, an activity that raises fairly visceral reactions one way or the other among Americans, was traditionally left up to individual states to legislate.

Wanted: Critical Windows Flaw -- Reward: $10,000

Brian Krebs writes on Security Fix:

iDefense, the Reston, Va.-based vulnerability research company recently bought up by Verisign Inc., is offering $10,000 to any hackers who can find a previously unknown security hole in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Here's the catch: The flaw must earn a "critical" rating from Redmond (Microsoft rates security holes as critical if they could be used by a computer worm to spread without any action on the part of the user). Details of the flaw must be submitted exclusively to iDefense by March 31. There is no limit on the number of prizes that can be paid: if five researchers find and report five different Windows flaws for which Microsoft later issues critical advisories, all five will get paid. More details are here.

Proof That Your Employees Don't Care About Security

Will Sturgeon writes on

An experiment carried out within London's square mile has revealed that employees in some of the City's best known financial services companies don't care about basic security policy.

CDs were handed out to commuters as they entered the City by employees of IT skills specialist The Training Camp and recipients were told the disks contained a special Valentine's Day promotion.

However, the CDs contained nothing more than code which informed The Training Camp how many of the recipients had tried to open the CD. Among those who were duped were employees of a major retail bank and two global insurers.

The CD packaging even contained a clear warning about installing third-party software and acting in breach of company acceptable-use policies - but that didn't deter many individuals who showed little regard for the security of their PC and their company.

World's Largest Scientific Society Meets in St. Louis

An AP newswire article, via USA Today, reports that:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science expects up to 9,000 scientists, journalists, policymakers and citizens to converge here and examine issues including Katrina, stem cell research, evolution and global warming.

About 200 meetings and lectures are planned during the five-day meeting, which was scheduled to begin Thursday night.

Judge Pushes Cell Phone Health Lawsuits Back to State Courts

Jeffrey Silva writes on RCR Wireless News:

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake ruled three mobile-phone health suits should be returned to state and federal courts, another in a string of legal setbacks for the wireless industry.

While the mobile phone industry has yet to lose a suit alleging a cell phone-cancer link, cellular carriers and manufacturers have watched a steady stream of health lawsuits sent back to state courts in recent years.

Echostar X Satellite Launches Successfully

An AFP newsbrief, via, reports that:

A US telecommunications satellite blasted off from a platform in the Pacific Ocean early Thursday, Russian officials said.

The Echostar X satellite, which will provide digital TV services, was successfully launched by the US-based Sea Launch company which fires commercial satellites into orbit from a floating platform, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian officials as saying.

The launch had been originally scheduled for February 9 but was delayed by a mistake in the launch sequence.

U.S. Must Release Domestic Spying Documents

A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

A federal judge Thursday ordered the Justice Department to respond within 20 days to requests by a civil liberties group for documents about President Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program.

The ruling was a victory for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which sued the department under the Freedom of Information Act in seeking the release of the documents.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy ruled that the department must finish processing the group’s requests and produce or identify all records within 20 days.

“Given the great public and media attention that the government’s warrantless surveillance program has garnered and the recent hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the public interest is particularly well served by the timely release of the requested documents,” he said.

More here.

Linux Boots on Intel iMacs

Image source: Engadget

Marc Perton writes over on Engadget:

If you want to run Windows on your Intel-based iMac, you may have a long wait. However, if your goal is to just run an OS other than Mac OS X, you're in luck. The enterprising team at the Mactel-Linux project have claimed at least partial victory: they were able to get Gentoo Linux to boot on an Intel iMac.

Obviously, they've still got some work to do before they can do anything useful with the OS, but it's a major step. And they did it without any help from Red Hat, which, last we heard, didn't even have an Intel Mac in the house, despite claiming they would get Linux to boot on the boxes.

Update: NASA Hacker Case Adjourned Over Extradition Concerns

Graeme Wearden writes on C|Net News:

Gary McKinnon, the U.K. citizen accused of hacking into computer systems run by NASA and the U.S. military, will not be extradited across the Atlantic to face trial unless the U.S. can guarantee he won't be treated as a terrorist.

At a hearing at Bow Street Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, McKinnon's lawyers claimed that he could be detained indefinitely by the U.S. authorities. McKinnon is charged with illegally accessing 97 U.S. government computers and causing $700,000 worth of damage over a 12-month period starting in Feb. 2001.

Last year, McKinnon told ZDNet UK that he had accessed the computers because he was looking for evidence that the U.S. had found extraterrestrial life. He denied causing serious damage.

Florida School District Bans Access to MySpace

Via CBS News., one of the most popular teen Web sites, has been banned from schools in Florida's eighth largest district.

Students in Polk County schools, which have almost 100,000 students, won't be able to access the social networking site that's on the radar of many teens.

More here.

Sex Workers Call for Boycott of 'Grand Theft Auto'

Tim Surette writes on C|Net News:

The Grand Theft Auto franchise is getting attacked from all angles.

Joining the ranks of politicians, policemen and attorneys in their crusade to see the game lifted from shelves are the nation's sex workers.

On its Web site, the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, or SWOP, is asking parents to assist them in calling for a boycott of Take-Two Interactive's controversial game.

Citing a 2001 document from the National Institute on Media and the Family's David Walsh, SWOP is calling "on all parents and all gamers to boycott Grand Theft Auto."

Hungarians Hack Opposition Party Servers

Thanks to Mike Masnick over on for the pointer to this article.

An AFP newswire article, via The Mail & Guardian Online, reports that:

Hungary's main opposition party, Fidesz, said on Thursday that it had made a "serious mistake" in hacking into the server of the governing Socialist party ahead of the April general elections.

"Whichever one of our enthusiastic staff did this committed a serious mistake, but the world will not come to an end," Fidesz campaign chief Antal Rogan told Hungarian public television on Thursday, quoted by MTI national news agency.

The Socialists on Tuesday charged Fidesz with having committed "burglary" for having downloaded nearly 3 000 items of campaign material from its password-protected server.

Features of ESPN Phone Catch Beijing's Eye

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

Walt Mossberg is a distinguished gentleman, a senior statesman among gadget gurus, so he's probably never said "WTF?!" in print, but he came close in today's review of the new ESPN-branded cell phone and service.

The phone has some nifty navigation if your entire life revolves around ESPN, but should your interests extend to the wider world of sports coverage, you are apparently out of luck. "ESPN has crippled the phone's Web browser by blocking access to some sites," Mossberg writes. "When I tried to go to several sites, including those of competitors like Sports Illustrated, I got a screen that said ESPN only allows you to go to 'reviewed' sites it believes 'work well on your ESPN phone.' That's an outrageous level of control, in my view.

You can get around this iron fist by doing a Google search in the Web browser and then clicking on one of the links Google produces, but that shouldn't be necessary." Off to the penalty box, ESPN; that's two minutes for obstruction.

Quantum Telecloning: Captain Kirk's Clone and The Eavesdropper

This has got to be the Bizarre Story of the Day...


Imagine Captain Kirk being beamed back to the Starship Enterprise and two versions of the Star Trek hero arriving in the spacecraft's transporter room. It happened 40 years ago in an episode of the TV science fiction classic, and now scientists at the University of York and colleagues in Japan have managed something strikingly similar in the laboratory - though no starship commander was involved.

The scientists have succeeded in making the first remote copies of beams of laser light, by combining quantum cloning with quantum teleportation into a single experimental step. Telecloning is more efficient than any combination of teleportation and local cloning because it relies on a new form of quantum entanglement - multipartite entanglement.

More here.

Lessig Makes Plea For Read/Write Internet

David Needle writes on

Stanford Professor Lawrence Lessig warned that today's fast-growing, free-wheeling Internet is threatened by network providers who want to control innovation and commerce on the Internet much the way AT&T once controlled the phone networks.

Speaking at the Open Source Business Conference here, Lessig said society has to decide if it wants to continue down the current path of a "read-only" Internet or embrace what he called a "read/write Internet" with broad access to content and the ability to legally build on the creative works of others.

More here.

Deutsche Telekom Unit to Slash 1,500 Jobs

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe's largest telecommunications company, Thursday said its fixed-line unit will reorganize and cut 1,500 jobs.

The affected jobs are part of a wider restructuring announced last year when Deutsche Telekom said it was cutting 32,000 workers over a three-year period.

Patriot Act Heads Toward Renewal

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

The USA Patriot Act is headed toward renewal with broad Senate support for a White House-brokered compromise that adds modest new civil liberties protections to the terror-fighting law.

“The outcome here is absolutely predetermined,” Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said late Wednesday. “It’s going to pass with overwhelming support.”

With even senior Democrats lining up behind the measure, its lone opponent, Sen. Russell Feingold, was preparing amendments he said would strengthen its curbs on government power. Congress is racing to renew 16 provisions of the law that are set to expire March 10.

More here.

Forgent Licenses (Yet Again) JPEG Patent to BenQ America

Via The Austin Business Journal.

Austin intellectual property company Forgent Networks Inc., along with its Compression Labs Inc. subsidiary, has completed another patent license agreement covering its JPEG data compression technology.

Forgent concluded the agreement with digital media company BenQ America Corp. of Irvine, Calif. The patent agreement covers Forgent's JPEG-related technology known as the '672 patent. With the completion of the agreement, BenQ America will be dismissed from Forgent's ongoing '672 patent litigation.

Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

XM Satellite Radio: 'Looming Crisis'

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. posted a much wider loss in the fourth quarter on higher costs for marketing and acquiring subscribers.

At the same time, a key director quit over disagreements about the company’s direction, warning of a looming “crisis.”

Much more here.

IGF Meeting Gets Spicey

Kieren McCarthy writes over on his blog:

Thought it was all going a little too smoothly.

Apart from Nitin Desai trying to drag the main focus on the first IGF meeting from being about spam to covering instead the digital divide, there was barely a harsh word and a strange amount of broad consensus.

But this cosy mood has been shaken up slightly thanks, very unexpectedly, to Bill Drake and Milton Mueller - two individuals that have been involved from the academic side of things for years.

More here.

CA's Kumar Erased Evidence From Hard Drive, U.S. Says

Nancy Weil writes on InfoWorld:

The U.S. government will present evidence at the upcoming trial of Sanjay Kumar that the former chief executive officer of CA Inc. erased from his laptop computer potential evidence related to the accounting fraud case against him and the company, according to a court document filed earlier this month.

Kumar reformatted his laptop to run the Linux OS after the government started investigating the company, the document alleges. The court paper was filed Feb. 2 in the U.S. District court for the Eastern District of New York, where the case is being heard. The document is a letter from the U.S. Attorney's office for that district notifying Kumar's attorneys of the plan to call two expert witnesses regarding the alleged destruction of possible evidence.

Iranians in SIM Card Buying Frenzy

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

Mobile phone users in Iran have snapped up 6.5 million highly sought-after SIM mobile cards in under a month during a mass sale that left banks and post offices swamped.

The 27-day sale, which ends Thursday and will reap approximately 2.5 billion dollars for the government, was the first such for two years and will put further stress on Iran's already pressured mobile network.

User Friendly: Naughty != Evil


Click for larger image.