Saturday, July 08, 2006

9 July 1941: Enigma Key Broken


A three-rotor German military Enigma machine showing, from bottom to top, the plugboard, the keyboard, the lamps and the finger-wheels of the rotors emerging from the inner lid (version with labels).
Image source: Wikipedia / NSA

Via The History Channel Online.

On this day in 1941, crackerjack British cryptologists break the secret code used by the German army to direct ground-to-air operations on the Eastern front.

British experts had already broken many of the Enigma codes for the Western front. Enigma was the Germans' most sophisticated coding machine, necessary to secretly transmitting information. The Enigma machine, invented in 1919 by Hugo Koch, a Dutchman, looked like a typewriter and was originally employed for business purposes. The Germany army adapted the machine for wartime use and considered its encoding system unbreakable. They were wrong. The Brits had broken their first Enigma code as early as the German invasion of Poland and had intercepted virtually every message sent through the occupation of Holland and France. Britain nicknamed the intercepted messages Ultra.

Now, with the German invasion of Russia, the Allies needed to be able to intercept coded messages transmitted on this second, Eastern, front. The first breakthrough occurred on July 9, regarding German ground-air operations, but various keys would continue to be broken by the Brits over the next year, each conveying information of higher secrecy and priority than the next. (For example, a series of decoded messages nicknamed "Weasel" proved extremely important in anticipating German anti-aircraft and antitank strategies against the Allies.) These decoded messages were regularly passed to the Soviet High Command regarding German troop movements and planned offensives, and back to London regarding the mass murder of Russian prisoners and Jewish concentration camp victims.

More here.

Quote of the Day: Adam Carolla

"All right, well get lost."

- Adam Carolla, as he hung up on Ann Coulter, who uttered, "I am really tight on time" after calling in an hour-and-a-half late to a scheduled interview on his syndicated radio show.

Bravo, Adam. You're The Man.

Hear the MP3 here.

Ex-CIA Officials: NYC Tunnel Bomb Plot Was Just Online 'Hate Chatter'

Larisa Alexandrovna writes on TheRawStory:

One former intelligence field officer says, and two other CIA officials confirm, that the alleged plot by Muslim extremists to bomb the Holland Tunnel in New York City was nothing more than chatter by unaffiliated individuals with no financing or training in an open forum already monitored extensively by the United States Government, RAW STORY has learned.

“The so-called New York tunnel plot was a result of discussions held on an open Jihadi web site,” said Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer and contributor to American Conservative magazine, in a late Friday afternoon conversation. Although Giraldi acknowledges that the persons involved – “three of whom have already been arrested in Lebanon and elsewhere - are indeed extremists," their online chatter is considerably overblown by allegations of an actual plot.

“They are not professionally trained terrorists, however, and had no resources with which to carry out the operation they discussed," Giraldi added. "Despite press reports that they had asked Abu Musab Zarqawi for assistance, there is no information to confirm that. It is known that the members discussed the possibility of approaching Zarqawi but none of them knew him or had any access to him.”

More here.

Australia: NSW Crown Prosecutor Arrested on Child Porn Charges

An AAP newswire article, via Australian IT, reports that:

A NSW deputy senior crown prosecutor has stood down after being charged with child pornography offences.

Dr Patrick Power SC was arrested yesterday and has been charged with possession of child pornography.

The material was allegedly stored on the hard drive of Power's home computer, which was used for both private and professional purposes.

Dr Power had brought his hard drive to work for repairs by an IT employee at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

It's alleged that in the process of checking files on the hard drive, the employee inadvertently accessed an explicit video recording and advised his supervisor.

More here.

New U.S. Destroyer Sails to Japan

The USS Mustin

An AP newswire article by Hans Greimel, via, reports that:

A new U.S. guided missile destroyer headed to Japan on Saturday amid tensions over North Korea's missile tests.

The USS Mustin sailed into the port of Yokosuka, home to the Navy's 7th Fleet, with a crew of 300 for permanent assignment to the region, fleet spokeswoman Hanako Tomizuka said.

The Mustin, commissioned in 2003, is one of the most advanced in the fleet. The 509-foot ship carries surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Its deployment to Yokosuka was previously planned and not in response to North Korea's missile tests, Tomizuka said.

More here.

Gapingvoid: Recognizing My Genius

Via Enjoy!

Google's Binary Search Helps Identify Malware

Robert McMillan writes on PCWorld:

A little-known capability in Google's search engine has helped security vendor Websense uncover thousands of malicious Web sites, as well as several legitimate sites that have been hacked, the company said today.

By taking advantage Google's binary search capability, Websense has created new software tools that can sniff out malware using the popular search engine. Websense researchers Googled for strings that were used in known malware like the Bagel and Mytob worms and have uncovered about 2,000 malicious Web sites over the past month, according to Dan Hubbard, senior director of security and research with Websense.

Though Google is widely used to search the Internet for Web pages and office documents, the search engine can also peek through the binary information stored in the normally unreadable executable (.exe) files that are run by Windows computers. "They actually look inside the internals of an executable and index that information," Hubbard said.

Hubbard and his team plans to share its Google code with a select group of security researchers, but it will not make the software public, for fear that the tool could be misused by the bad guys.

More here.

U.S. Researchers Crack Codes to ESA's Galileo GPS


Members of Cornell's Global Positioning System (GPS) Laboratory have cracked the so-called pseudo random number (PRN) codes of Europe's first global navigation satellite, despite efforts to keep the codes secret. That means free access for consumers who use navigation devices -- including handheld receivers and systems installed in vehicles -- that need PRNs to listen to satellites.

The codes and the methods used to extract them were published in the June issue of GPS World.

The navigational satellite, GIOVE-A (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element-A), is a prototype for 30 satellites that by 2010 will compose Galileo, a $4 billion joint venture of the European Union, European Space Agency and private investors. Galileo is Europe's answer to the United States' GPS.

More here.

Explosives Stolen From U.S. Defense Facilities

Via NewScientist.

Things have a habit of going missing from US defence labs.

In a 2005 audit, hundreds of conventional explosives at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, could not be accounted for, says a report released last week by the US Department of Energy's Inspector General.

Plastic and powdered explosives, detonators and rocket motors were all missing. "Extremely dangerous and potentially destructive materials may be subject to theft or diversion," says the report, claiming that neither Sandia nor Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico has adequate controls or regularly tests the stability and safety of ageing explosives.

More here.

L.A. Filmmaker Sues U.S. Over Iraq Detention

Henry Weinstein writes in The Los Angeles Times:

A Los Angeles filmmaker who was imprisoned in Iraq for 55 days sued Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking military officials Friday, alleging that his detention violated his civil rights, the law of nations and the Geneva Convention.

Mark D. Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California, said the suit is the first civil action challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. government's detention and hearing policies in Iraq.

Cyrus Kar, 45, of Los Feliz was freed a year ago, just days after the American Civil Liberties Union sued seeking his release. The new lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, seeks damages for Kar and broad changes in the government's detention policies.

More here.

Massachusetts Students Cry Foul Over Cell Phone Policy

Eric Athas writes in the MetroWest Daily News:

Fearing their wireless freedom may be in jeopardy, students at Framingham High School were fuming over a new school policy that allows administrators to seize cell phones and search their contents.

The policy, administrators say, is to improve security and stop the sale of drugs and stolen goods, but students said that the edict is an invasion of privacy.

More here.

Friday, July 07, 2006

8 July 1969: Happy Birthday, CICS


Via Wikipedia.

CICS® (Customer Information Control System) is a transaction server that runs primarily on IBM mainframe systems under z/OS or z/VSE. CICS is available for other operating systems, notably i5/OS, OS/2, and as the closely related IBM TXSeries software on AIX, Windows, and Linux, among others. The z/OS implementation is by far the most popular and significant.

CICS is a transaction processing system (like TCAM) designed for both online and batch activity. On large IBM zSeries and System z9 servers, CICS easily supports thousands of transactions per second, making it a mainstay of enterprise computing. CICS applications can be written in numerous programming languages, including COBOL, PL/I, C, C++, Assembler, REXX, and Java.

CICS is one of the world's most durable software products thanks to its ever-expanding capabilities, continuous and aggressive vendor support, large installed base, exceptional reliability, high performance, and huge variety of applications and tools. It is also a very secure system and functions at a high speed. (Many of these attributes depend on the zSeries platform.) CICS is used in bank teller applications, airline reservation systems, ATM systems etc. CICS first went on sale on July 8, 1969, not long after IMS. It was originally developed in the United States at IBM's Palo Alto lab. In 1974, CICS development shifted to IBM's programming labs in Hursley, United Kingdom, where work continues today.

More here.

CALEA: FBI Plans New Internet Wiretapping Push

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping, CNET has learned.

FBI Agent Barry Smith distributed the proposal at a private meeting last Friday with industry representatives and indicated it would be introduced by Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.

The draft bill would place the FBI's Net-surveillance push on solid legal footing. At the moment, it's ensnared in a legal challenge from universities and some technology companies that claim the Federal Communications Commission's broadband surveillance directives exceed what Congress has authorized.

The FBI claims that expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act is necessary to thwart criminals and terrorists who have turned to technologies like voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

More here.

Navy Personnel Data Again Found on Public Web Site

An AP newswire article by Lolita C. Baldor, via The Boston Globe, reports that:

For the second time in two weeks, Social Security numbers and other personal information of Navy personnel have been discovered on an Internet site, triggering an investigation.

The Navy said Friday that information on more than 100,000 naval and Marine Corps aviators and aircrew was on the Naval Safety Center Web site and on nearly 1,100 computer discs mailed out to naval commands.

There was no indication that the information has been used illegally, said Navy spokesman Lt. Ryan Perry. He said Rear Adm. George Mayer, commander of the Naval Safety Center, had the information removed immediately and officials are looking into how the data was posted on the Web site.

The Navy is also attempting to retrieve the computer disks, he said, and individuals whose data was revealed on the Internet were being notified. Both active and reserve members were affected by the latest incident, including aviators who may have served within the last 20 years.

More here.

Man Indicted in Phone Jamming Case to Argue Bush Administration Approved Election Scheme

John Byrne writes on TheRawStory:

The fourth man indicted in a New Hampshire phone-jamming scheme -- in which Republican operatives jammed the phone lines of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in a 2002 Senate race -- will argue at trial that the Bush Administration and the national Republican Party gave their approval to the plan, according to a motion filed by his attorney Thursday.

Shaun Hansen, the former owner of the company that placed hang-up calls to jam Democratic phone lines, was indicted in March for conspiring to commit and aiding and abetting the commission of interstate telephone harassment relating to a scheme to thwart get out the vote efforts on Election Day, 2002.

His lawyer's motion signals that Hansen intends to argue that he was entrapped because the Administration allegedly told his superiors the calls were legal. The filing indicates, however, that Hansen does not have firsthand knowledge of Administration intervention.

More here.

'Alec Station' Leader Blasts CIA Over Unit Closure

Suzanne Goldenberg writes in The Guardian (UK):

The man who led America's hunt for Osama bin Laden says the CIA was wrong to disband the only unit devoted entirely to the Islamist leader's pursuit - just at a time when al-Qaida is reasserting its influence over the global jihad.

Shutting down the Bin Laden unit squandered 10 years of expertise in the war on terror, said Michael Scheuer, who founded the unit in 1995 and arguably knows more about Bin Laden than any other western intelligence official. He believes the unit was dismantled because of bureaucratic jealousies within the CIA, and that the closure delivers a further setback to a pursuit that has been squeezed for resources for the past two years.

More here.

Canada to HQ Global Anti-Terror Finance Tracking Group

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

An international organization that tracks funding to terrorist groups will be headquartered in Canada, the country's finance minister announced Friday.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Toronto will house the headquarters of the Egmont Group - an organization which represents more than 100 financial investigation units.

The government will contribute C$5 million (US$4.5 million) over the next five years to help establish the group, which will analyze, investigate and prosecute terrorist financing and share financial intelligence on money laundering.

More here.

Kentucky Police Officers Suspended Over MySpace Comments

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

Three police officers were suspended over Web site comments about their jobs and derogatory language about gays and the mentally disabled.

The suspensions came after two other officers were suspended in June over comments and photos posted on the same site,

In the latest case, the Fayette Urban County Council approved a recommendation on Thursday to suspend Aaron Noel, Richard Sisk and Paul Stewart on administrative charges of conduct unbecoming of an officer. Each was suspended for 80 hours without pay and was ordered to undergo sensitivity training.

The police department began investigating the Web sites in March after they were discovered by another officer.

More here.

Online Gambling up For U.S. House Debate

Roy Mark writes on

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives may get an opportunity next week to place their bets on banning Internet gambling.

Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa) have combined their Internet anti-gambling legislation into one bill. They're hoping for a full floor debate and a vote by as early as Wednesday.

More here.

A Chronology of Data Breaches Reported Since the ChoicePoint Incident


Hat-tip to Bruce Schneier for pointing this out.

Via The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

The data breaches noted [...] have been reported because the personal information compromised includes data elements useful to identity thieves, such as Social Security numbers, account numbers, and driver's license numbers. A few breaches that do NOT expose such sensitive information have been included in order to underscore the variety and frequency of data breaches. However, we have not included the number of records involved in such breaches in the total because we want this compilation to reflect breaches that expose individuals to identity theft as well as breaches that qualify for disclosure under state laws.

The running total we maintain at the end of the Chronology represents the approximate number of *records* that have been compromised due to security breaches, not necessarily the number of *individuals* affected. Some individuals may be the victims of more than one breach, which would affect the totals.

More here.

Toon: North Korean Fireworks

Click for larger image.

California Man Revealed as al Qaeda Leader

Brian Ross reports on ABC News' "The Blotter":

For the first time, a former Orange County, Calif. teenage rock music fan has revealed his role as a top al Qaeda leader.

Adam Gadahn, who disappeared from California seven years ago, appeared unmasked on an al Qaeda tape made public on the internet today.

The FBI and CIA had speculated that he was the masked man who appeared on previous al Qaeda tapes. On today's tape, Gadahn is bearded, wearing a turban.

More here.

UserFriendly: DDoS For Fun and Profit


Click for larger image.

ABC Wants DVR Fast-Forwarding Disabled

David Goetzl and Wayne Friedman write on MediaDailyNews:

ABC has held discussions the use of technology that would disable the fast-forward button on DVRs, according to ABC President of Advertising Sales Mike Shaw, with the primary goal to allow TV commercials to run as intended.

"I would love it if the MSOs, during the deployment of the new DVRs they're putting out there, would disable the fast-forward [button]," Shaw said.

While MSOs risk losing some of their DVR customers if fast-forwarding were blocked, Shaw said the cable operators--who are beefing up their own local ad sales operations--"are in the same business we're in." "They've got to sell ads too," he said. "So if everybody's skipping everybody's ads, that's not a long-term business model for them either."

More here.

The Ten Commandments of Cell Phone Etiquette


Dan Briody writes on InfoWorld:

Well I've reached the point with cell phones where I feel the need to lay down the law. There are some real abuses of wireless technology being perpetrated all around us, and the time has come to create some social order out of the cell phone chaos. This is by no means an exhaustive list simply because as the technology evolves, new annoying traits will surely emerge. But commandments usually come in tens, so think of this as the first Ten Commandments of cell phone etiquette, with amendments to follow:

1. Thou shalt not subject defenseless others to cell phone conversations. When people cannot escape the banality of your conversation, such as on the bus, in a cab, on a grounded airplane, or at the dinner table, you should spare them. People around you should have the option of not listening. If they don't, you shouldn't be babbling.

2. Thou shalt not set thy ringer to play La Cucaracha every time thy phone rings. Or Beethoven's Fifth, or the Bee Gees, or any other annoying melody. Is it not enough that phones go off every other second? Now we have to listen to synthesized nonsense?

3. Thou shalt turn thy cell phone off during public performances. I'm not even sure this one needs to be said, but given the repeated violations of this heretofore unwritten law, I felt compelled to include it.

4. Thou shalt not wear more than two wireless devices on thy belt. This hasn't become a big problem yet. But with plenty of techno-jockeys sporting pagers and phones, Batman-esque utility belts are sure to follow. Let's nip this one in the bud.

5. Thou shalt not dial while driving. In all seriousness, this madness has to stop. There are enough people in the world who have problems mastering vehicles and phones individually. Put them together and we have a serious health hazard on our hands.

6. Thou shalt not wear thy earpiece when thou art not on thy phone. This is not unlike being on the phone and carrying on another conversation with someone who is physically in your presence. No one knows if you are here or there. Very disturbing.

7. Thou shalt not speak louder on thy cell phone than thou would on any other phone. These things have incredibly sensitive microphones, and it's gotten to the point where I can tell if someone is calling me from a cell because of the way they are talking, not how it sounds. If your signal cuts out, speaking louder won't help, unless the person is actually within earshot.

8. Thou shalt not grow too attached to thy cell phone. For obvious reasons, a dependency on constant communication is not healthy. At work, go nuts. At home, give it a rest.

9. Thou shalt not attempt to impress with thy cell phone. Not only is using a cell phone no longer impressive in any way (unless it's one of those really cool new phones with the space age design), when it is used for that reason, said user can be immediately identified as a neophyte and a poseur.

10. Thou shalt not slam thy cell phone down on a restaurant table just in case it rings. This is not the Old West, and you are not a gunslinger sitting down to a game of poker in the saloon. Could you please be a little less conspicuous? If it rings, you'll hear it just as well if it's in your coat pocket or clipped on your belt.

More here.

Microsoft Adds 'Privacy Folder' To Windows XP

Gregg Keizer writes on TechWeb News:

Microsoft has released an add-on to Windows XP that creates a password-protected "My Private Folder" for storing private documents and files. Some enterprise administrators immediately objected.

Microsoft Private Folder 1.0, which can be downloaded from the Redmond, Wash. developer's Web site -- users must prove that their copy of Windows is legitimate by running the controversial Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tool -- places the new folder on the desktop.

"It's a useful tool for you to protect your private data when your friends, colleagues, kids or other people share your PC or account," Microsoft said on the page dedicated to the new tool.

More here.

Crowds Gather to See Huge Chunk Fall Off of The Eiger

John Hooper writes in The Guardian (UK):

A vast chunk of Europe's most ill-famed mountain threatens to break loose and crash down in the next few days, a geologist monitoring the situation told the Guardian on Friday.

Hans-Rudolf Keusen said 2m cubic metres of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland - twice the volume of the Empire State Building - was rapidly working its way loose. He said the mountain appeared to have cracked open as an indirect result of global warming.

More here.

Artifical Blood Experiment Hits 27 U.S. Cities

Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee report on ABC News' "The Blotter":

In 27 cities across the United States, seriously injured accident victims could end up in a medical experiment, without their knowledge or consent.

The experiment involves an artificial blood called Polyheme.

The federal government has given the company that makes it approval to use badly bleeding accident victims as test subjects, without the subjects informed consent.

More here.

Politics: Paul Krugman --The Treason Card

In a powerful column today in The York Times, Paul Krugman writes:

The nature of the right-wing attack on The New York Times — an attack not on the newspaper's judgment, but on its motives — seems to have startled many people in the news media. After an editorial in The Wall Street Journal declared that The Times has what amount to treasonous intentions — that it "has as a major goal not winning the war on terror but obstructing it" — The Journal's own political editor pronounced himself "shocked," saying that "I don't know anybody on the news staff of The Wall Street Journal that believes that."

But anyone who was genuinely shocked by The Journal's willingness to play the treason card must not have been paying attention these past five years. ...[T]he Bush administration and the movement it leads have been engaged in an authoritarian project, an effort to remove all the checks and balances that have heretofore constrained the executive branch.

Much of this project involves the assertion of unprecedented executive authority — the right to imprison people indefinitely without charges (and torture them if the administration feels like it), the right to wiretap American citizens without court authorization, the right to declare, when signing laws passed by Congress, that the laws don't really mean what they say.

But an almost equally important aspect of the project has been the attempt to create a political environment in which nobody dares to criticize the administration or reveal inconvenient facts... As far back as 2002, Rush Limbaugh, in words very close to those used by The Wall Street Journal last week, accused Tom Daschle, then the Senate majority leader, of a partisan "attempt to sabotage the war on terrorism."

Those of us who tried to call attention to this authoritarian project years ago have long marveled over the reluctance of many of our colleagues to acknowledge what was going on. For example, for a long time many people in the mainstream media applied a peculiar double standard to political speech, denouncing perfectly normal if forceful political rhetoric from the left as poisonous "Bush hatred," while chuckling indulgently over venom from the right. (That Ann Coulter, she's such a kidder.)

But now the chuckling has stopped: somehow, nobody seems to find calls to send Bill Keller to the gas chamber funny. ... I think that most Americans still believe ... that the president isn't a king, that he isn't entitled to operate without checks and balances. And President Bush is especially unworthy of our trust, because on every front — from his refusal to protect chemical plants to his officials' exposure of Valerie Plame, from his toleration of war profiteering to his decision to place the C.I.A. in the hands of an incompetent crony — he has consistently played politics with national security.

And he has done so with the approval and encouragement of the same people now attacking The New York Times for its alleged lack of patriotism. ...

Things have changed...: Mr. Bush's ability to wrap his power grab in the flag has diminished now that most Americans no longer consider him either competent or honest. But the administration and its supporters still believe that they can win political battles by impugning the patriotism of those who won't go along.

For the sake of our country, let's hope that they're wrong.

Full column text above, subscription-required link here.

Verizon Prepares for Spinoff of Directories Business

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

Verizon Communications Inc. on Friday said it planned to dispose of its phone directories business by the end of the year, reflecting its increasing focus on Internet and wireless communications.

Verizon said it registered a possible spinoff of the directories business, which reported $3.45 billion in revenue last year, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

But the company said it had not yet made a decision on whether to spin off the business and that a sale was also possible.

More here.

UK: McKinnon's Extradition Condemned

Via The BBC.

Supporters of Gary McKinnon have condemned the decision to let the former hacker be extradited to the US.

On 4 July Home Secretary John Reid granted the US request to extradite Mr McKinnon for trial.

One friend of the hacker said he was being made a "scapegoat" for the shortcomings of security policies on US military networks.

Others said the potential sentence he could serve if found guilty was out of proportion to the crimes he committed.

More here.

Gapingvoid: Getting Attention

Via Enjoy!

FBI Disrupts New York City Tunnel Plot

An AP newswire article by Mark Sherman, via The Boston Globe, reports that:

Authorities have disrupted planning by foreign terrorists for an attack on New York City tunnels, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

FBI agents monitoring Internet chat rooms used by extremists learned in recent months of the plot to strike a blow at the city's economy by destroying vital transportation networks, one official said.

Lebanese authorities, acting on a U.S. request, have arrested one of the alleged plotters, identified as Amir Andalousli, the other official said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "This is one instance where intelligence was on top of its game and discovered the plot when it was just in the talking phase."

More here.

Netcraft: July 2006 Web Server Survey

Via Netcraft.

In the July 2006 survey we received responses from 88,166,395 sites, an increase of 2.87 million (3.25%) from last month. The Internet continues to see strong hostname growth, and has now gained 14.1 million hostnames (19%) in 2006 for an average increase of more than 2 million per month.

It was a good month for the Apache web server, which gains 3.2 million hostnames. The improvement boosts Apache's market share by 1.8% to 63.25%, gaining back some of the ground it lost during several months of strong gains for Windows servers. The largest gains for Apache was at Oversee.Net, which added more than 0.58 million hostnames on the Linux/Apache platform. But Apache's growth in the hosting sector extends beyond Oversee.Net, as eleven other hosting companies added 20K or more hostnames on Apache.

More here.

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The San Francisco Chronicle.

As of Thursday, at least 2,542 members of the U.S. military had died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

California Releases Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Reports

Peter Nicholas writes in The Los Angeles Times:

State intelligence reports released Thursday by the Schwarzenegger administration include material suggesting that the governor's anti-terrorism operation was interested in the actions of the Minuteman volunteer border patrol group.

The reports also include a cryptic reference to "suspicious conversations at a mosque" in San Diego.

State officials released more than 80 intelligence reports prepared for the state Office of Homeland Security, in response to The Times' disclosure that two reports carried information about domestic political protests ranging from antiwar gatherings to protect-the-seals rallies.

Large sections of the reports shown to reporters had been removed. The homeland security office said the blocked material was "law-enforcement sensitive."

More here.

NYC to Examine Creating Citywide Broadband Network

Sewell Chan writes in The New York Times:

Even as a contractor moves ahead with plans to install wireless networks in 10 parks, New York City intends to study whether to establish a citywide broadband network similar to those planned by cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The study, commissioned by the city's Economic Development Corporation, will examine "whether there is a need for a citywide broadband network as a municipal initiative" and what legal, technical, logistical and economic challenges such a project would involve, according to a request for proposals that the city released on June 14.

The request for proposals was mentioned in a brief item in Crain's New York Business on June 26, but has otherwise attracted little attention until yesterday when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg mentioned it.

More here.

U.S. Senators Want NSA to Share its Secrets

Via UPI.

A U.S. Senate panel wants the National Security Agency to distribute its data more widely.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is pushing the super-secret NSA to further open its databases of raw signals intelligence to a wider audience within the intelligence community. But the effort comes at a time when Congress, courts and the privacy community are closely scrutinizing the legality of the agency's surveillance activities, National Journal's Technology Daily reported Thursday.

The committee ordered the NSA and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency to arrive at an agreement by the end of August to extend access to NSA's databases to more DIA analysts.

More here.

College Student Tracking Assailed

Lois Ramano writes in The Washington Post:

Private colleges yesterday fired a rather noisy shot across the bow of an education proposal aimed at keeping closer tabs on institutions of higher learning through a new national database of student records.

The controversial concept of a national student "unit" tracking system has been floating around for about two years. It was given a boost last month when Education Secretary Margaret Spellings's Commission on the Future of Higher Education released a draft report endorsing such a plan.

More here.

NASD Laptops Stolen, Risks Downplayed

Bob Sullivan writes in The Red Tape Chronicles:

Ten laptop computers were stolen from a team of securities regulators conducting an investigation last February, but the computers contained scant amounts of personal information, according to the National Association of Securities Dealers.

There is irony in this story. The regulators were conducting what’s known as a “cause” exam, an investigation into possible misconduct by two member firms. The only consumers whose identities were put at risk by the theft were the subjects of the investigation, according to the NASD.

The incident underscores the jittery environment surrounding laptop computers and private information in light of several high-profile hardware thefts in recent months.

More here.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

7 July 2005: London Bombings


Emergency services surround the wreckage of a bus ripped apart as part of a coordinated terrorist attack in London in July 2005.
Image ource: Wikipedia / BBC News

Via Wikipedia.

The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of coordinated suicide bombings that struck London's public transport system during the morning rush hour.

At 8:50 a.m. (BST, UTC+1), three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other on three London Underground trains. A fourth bomb exploded on a bus nearly an hour later at 9:47 a.m. in Tavistock Square. The bombings led to a severe, day-long disruption of the city's transport and mobile telecommunications infrastructure.

Fifty-two people were killed in the attacks, including the four bombers, and about 700 injured, of whom about 100 required overnight hospital treatment or more. The incident was the deadliest single act of terrorism in the United Kingdom since Lockerbie (the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270), and the deadliest bombing in London since the Second World War.

Police investigators identified four men whom they believe to be suicide bombers. As of April 2006 it is believed that the bombers acted alone on a shoestring budget, although al-Qaeda did claim responsibility after the bombings.

More here.

Frenchman Breaks Fossett's Trans-Atlantic Sailing Speed Record

An AP newswire article by Bernie Wilson, via, reports that:

French skipper Bruno Peyron and his 11-man crew shattered Steve Fossett's trans-Atlantic sailing record by nine hours on Thursday even though one of the rudders on their giant catamaran was damaged in a collision with an unidentified object, possibly a small iceberg, halfway across the ocean.

"We are exhausted and happy," Peyron said by satellite phone shortly after setting the all-out speed record of 4 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds from New York to The Lizard on the southwest British coast.

By comparison, it takes a cruise ship about six days to cross the Atlantic.

Fossett, the American adventurer, set the old record of 4 days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and 6 seconds aboard the catamaran PlayStation in October 2001.

More here.

New Mac OS Feature Raises Privacy Concerns

Scott Ferguson [No relation -fergie] writes on eWeek:

Is your Mac "phoning home"?

That's the question some Apple users are asking after installing an updated version of the company's Mac OS X—Version 10.4.7—that aims to help authenticate desktop widgets. According to at least one blog, Apple's efforts to help identify and validate end users' desktop widgets may have also introduced a new privacy-related issue.

More here.

Cisco to Buy Meetinghouse for $43.7M

Robert McMillan writes on NetworkWorld:

Cisco plans to buy Meetinghouse Data Communications, an endpoint security software vendor based in Portsmouth, N.H.

The $43.7 million acquisition will give help the networking giant "provide a single unified wired and wireless client for enterprise customers" that prevents any unauthorized devices from getting on a network, Cisco said in a statement Thursday.

Meetinghouse's AEGIS line of authentication software is used to manage network access using the IEEE 802.1x standard.

More here.

A Broadband Light Amplifier on a Photonic Chip


Cornell University researchers have created a broadband light amplifier on a silicon chip, a major breakthrough in the quest to create photonic microchips. In such microchips, beams of light traveling through microscopic waveguides will replace electric currents traveling through microscopic wires.

A team of researchers working with Alexander Gaeta, Cornell professor of applied and engineering physics, and Michal Lipson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, used the Cornell NanoScale Facility to make the devices. They reported their results in the June 22 issue of the journal Nature.

More here.

AT&T Wireless, Cingular Sued for Poor Service

Candace Heckman writes in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

When AT&T Wireless and Cingular merged almost two years ago, AT&T customers were promised a seamless transition and upgraded service as part of the nation's largest cell phone company.

But calls started dropping and customers suddenly began getting network busy signals. When they called to complain, customers were told they had to sign a new contract with Cingular or face a fee for terminating their AT&T contracts.

New phones were no longer available. Signals got worse and worse.

Now, some of those customers are accusing the new merged carrier of conspiring to steadily degrade the old AT&T network in order to induce customers to sign on to Cingular instead.

More here.

Hackers May Lose Nuclear Option

Kevin Poulsen writes on 27B Stroke 6:

The nuclear power industry is going digital -- replacing mechanical systems with more efficient, networked computer-controls. If that makes you nervous in a season-four-of-24 kinda way, you're not alone. Last week, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted unanimously to add cyber security requirements to federal regulations governing nuclear power plant security.

The new language, which will face a public comment period before taking effect, requires plant operators to "implement a cyber-security program that provides high assurance that computer systems, which if compromised would likely adversely impact safety, security and emergency preparedness, are protected from cyber attacks."

I'd give this a glowing review, but for the word "likely", which was a last-minute change. It's actually hand-written on the document, by the hand of someone who presumably thought it would be overly burdensome to make energy companies protect systems that might possibly, conceivably or theoretically impact safety.

More here.

U.S Authorities: Gangs Increasingly Using Internet

An AP newswire article by Andrew Glazer, via The Boston Globe, reports that:

Some of the country's most notorious street gangs have gotten Web-savvy, showcasing illegal exploits, making threats, and honoring killed and jailed members on digital turf.

Crips, Bloods, MS-13, 18th Street and others have staked claims on various corners of cyberspace. "Web bangers" are posting potentially incriminating photos of members holding guns, messages taunting other gangs and boasts of illegal exploits on personal Web sites and social networking sites.

More here.

UK: McKinnon Extradition to U.S. Approved

Via The BBC.

A US request to extradite a British computer hacker accused of the "biggest military hack of all time" has been granted by Home Secretary John Reid.

Gary McKinnon, who is accused of breaking into US government computer networks, has been fighting extradition since his arrest in November 2002.

His family says he has 14 days to appeal against the extradition.

Mr McKinnon told the BBC he was "very worried and feeling very let down by my own government".

More here.

Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification

Via Microsoft.

On 11 July 2006 Microsoft is planning to release:

Security Updates

  • Four Microsoft Security Bulletins affecting Microsoft Windows. The highest Maximum Severity rating for these is Critical. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer and the Enterprise Scan Tool. Some of these updates will require a restart.
  • Three Microsoft Security Bulletins affecting Microsoft Office. The highest Maximum Severity rating for these is Critical. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer. These updates may require a restart.

More here.

Manchester United Stars to Be Tracked Via RFID?

Via The RFID Weblog.

If a recent report from UK is to be believed it states that it might be possible for the USDA to use RFID tags and satellites for tracking individuals from space.

As per Manchester Evening News, a chip of the size of rice might be embedded under the skin of stars such as Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand. Satellites would be used for tracking their exact position so that United's training staff would be able to monitor movements during a training session or match.

The bosses have confirmed that the technology was under consideration but a decision was still pending. It is believed that the technology has already been implemented in South America which has witnessed instances of footballers being kidnapped.

More here.

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The San Francisco Chronicle.

As of Wednesday, at least 2,540 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

DHS Still Hasn't Named Cybersecurity Czar

Via UPI.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has still failed to appoint a cyber-security director after a delay of a year.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the creation of a position for an assistant cyber security czar as part of a six-point agenda July 13, 2005. He identified elevating the position to an assistant Cabinet-level post as part of an overall strategy to "ensure that the department's policies, operations, and structures are aligned in the best way to address the potential threats -- both present and future." But a year later, that position remains unfilled, National Journal's Technology Daily reported Wednesday.

More here.

Cisco to Supply China Telecom with Routers

Jessie Seyfer writes in The Mercury News:

Cisco Systems announced Wednesday that it is making further inroads into China, becoming the primary equipment supplier to the country's largest phone and Internet provider, China Telecom.

Although the value of the deal was not released, analysts say it is a big win for Cisco, as it raises the company's status as a global leader in sales of routers -- equipment that organizes and sends Internet data where it needs to go. Cisco also gains an advantage over Chinese rival Huawei Technologies, which has been gaining ground in Asia in sales of telecommunications equipment, analysts said.

China Telecom chose Cisco to supply equipment for its ChinaNet backbone network -- essentially some of the country's largest core Internet ``pipes,'' which handle 80 percent of China's Internet traffic. Cisco will also supply China Telecom's CN2 network, a parallel Internet used by businesses.

More here.

Western Union Blocks Arab Cash Transfers

An AP newswire article by Anjan Sundaram, via The Boston Globe, reports that:

Money transfer agencies have delayed or blocked thousands of cash deliveries on suspicion of terrorist connections simply because senders or recipients have names like Mohammed or Ahmed, company officials said.

In one example, an Indian driver here said Western Union prevented him from sending $120 to a friend at home last month because the recipient's name was Mohammed.

"Western Union told me that if I send money to Sahir Mohammed, the money will be blocked because of his name," said 36-year-old Abdul Rahman Maruthayil, who later sent the money through UAE Exchange, a Dubai-based money transfer service.

More here.

User Friendly: The RIAA Can Smell Money


Click for larger image.

Comcast Adding 400 Jobs in 3 New England States

An AP newswire article, via The Boston Globe, reports that:

Comcast Corp. said Thursday it plans to add more than 400 jobs in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut within three months to keep pace with demand for cable television, high-speed Internet and phone services.

The additions are expected to increase the Philadelphia-based company's New England employment to 6,000.

More here.

Consultant Breached FBI's Computers

Eric M. Weiss writes in The Washington Post:

A government consultant, using computer programs easily found on the Internet, managed to crack the FBI's classified computer system and gain the passwords of 38,000 employees, including that of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

The break-ins, which occurred four times in 2004, gave the consultant access to records in the Witness Protection Program and details on counterespionage activity, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Washington. As a direct result, the bureau said it was forced to temporarily shut down its network and commit thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars to ensure no sensitive information was lost or misused.

The government does not allege that the consultant, Joseph Thomas Colon, intended to harm national security. But prosecutors said Colon's "curiosity hacks" nonetheless exposed sensitive information.

Colon, 28, an employee of BAE Systems who was assigned to the FBI field office in Springfield, Ill., said in court filings that he used the passwords and other information to bypass bureaucratic obstacles and better help the FBI install its new computer system. And he said agents in the Springfield office approved his actions.

More here.

Polish Police, U.S. FBI Block Neo-Nazi Website

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

Polish police, working with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI), have blocked a neo-Nazi website hosted by a US server, which published blacklists of Polish gays, feminists and left-wing sympathisers.

"We worked together very well," said Polish police chief Marek Bienkowski on Thursday, who had asked the FBI for help in blocking the website of the Polish wing of the neo-fascist Blood and Honour organisation.

Several of the administrators of the site were detained by Polish police.

More here.

AOL May Offer its Services for Free

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

America Online, the online unit of Time Warner Inc., is considering offering its services, including e-mail, free to customers who already have a high-speed Internet connection, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Under terms of the proposal, which comes amid AOL's quickly depreciating subscriber base, AOL would no longer charge subscription fees to users with high-speed Internet access or a dial-up service from another provider. AOL customers with "dial-up" Internet access through AOL would still have to pay a monthly fee of as much as $25.90, the newspaper said.

The Journal cited unidentified people familiar with the matter for its report.

More here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

6 July 1785: Happy Birthday, The Almighty Dollar


Via Wikipedia.

Adopted by the United States Congress on July 6, 1785, the U.S. dollar today is the most-used currency in the world. Several countries use the U.S. dollar as their official currency, and many others allow it to be used in a de facto capacity.

In 1995, over US$380 billion were in circulation, of which two-thirds was outside the United States. By 2005 that figure had doubled to nearly $760 billion with an estimated half to two-thirds being held overseas, which is an annual growth of about 6.6%.

More here.

Toon: North Korean Rad Wear

Click for larger image.

Two More Copper Thefts Highlight Trend

Leslie Griffy writes in The Mercury News:

Two thefts in San Jose on Monday again highlight a trend driven by high copper prices.

About $1,350 worth of copper pipe was taken from a construction site on Bascom Avenue on Monday and another 630 feet of copper cable was taken from United Technologies that night, according to the Santa Clara County Sherrif's department.

Deputy Serg Palanov said it's unclear if the crimes are related, but, he noted, copper theft is a common crime

More here.

Verizon's Project Hits Some Bumps — And Utility Pipes

An AP newswire article by Stephanie Stoughton, via USA Today, reports that:

New York-based Verizon is spending billions on the upgrade so its network can deliver video on demand and hundreds of channels of high-definition television, as well as Internet connections hundreds of times faster than most broadband lines. So far, the path to the future has been marked by more than a few ruptured utility pipes, split cables and dug-up driveways.

Verizon officials acknowledge start-up problems with their FiOS project, now available in parts of Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and California, but they have seen a dramatic decline in the number of damage incidents since it began in 2004.

More here.

Ken Lay's Death Prompts Confusion on Wikipedia

Via Reuters.

The death of former Enron Corp. chief Ken Lay on Wednesday underscored the challenges facing online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which as the news was breaking offered a variety of causes for his death.

Lay, 64, died of a heart attack early on Wednesday, a family spokeswoman said, just six weeks after a jury found him guilty of fraud in one of the biggest corporate scandals in U.S. history.

Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, added news of Lay's death to his online biography shortly after news outlets began reporting it at around 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

At 10:06 a.m., Wikipedia's entry for Lay said he died "of an apparent suicide."

At 10:08, it said he died at his Aspen, Colorado home "of an apparent [[heart attack] or suicide.]."

Within the same minute, it said the cause of death was "yet to be determined."

At 10:09 a.m., it said "no further details have been officially released" about the death.

Two minutes later, it said: "The guilt of ruining so many lives finally [sic] led him to his suicide."

More here.

Trident Warheads: Road Crash Could Set Off Nuclear Blast

Rob Edwards writes in NewScientist:

Trident nuclear warheads damaged in a vehicle pile-up or a plane crash could partially detonate and deliver a lethal radiation dose, according to a newly declassified report from the UK Ministry of Defence obtained by New Scientist. The MoD has also revealed that an attack by terrorists on a nuclear weapons convoy could produce an even more disastrous outcome. "The consequences of such an incident are likely to be considerable loss of life," says a senior MoD official.

Trident warheads are regularly transported to weapons facilities in the US and the UK, where they are inspected to make sure that ageing materials don't render them unreliable or unstable. The MoD has always insisted that an accidental nuclear explosion could not happen in transit, because a warhead's plutonium core must be compressed symmetrically by conventional explosives. Bombs are designed to be "single point safe" so a knock at a single point should not trigger all the explosives around the core.

But according to the report, extreme accidents could result in a nuclear explosion.

More here.

Workers Sue Union Pacific Over ID Theft

An AP newswire article, via The Houston Chronicle, reports that:

Concerns about identity theft prompted a group of nine Union Pacific Corp. employees to sue the nation's largest railroad over the way it uses Social Security numbers to identify employees.

The company said in May that a computer with names and Social Security numbers of 30,000 current or retired Union Pacific employees had been stolen from a personnel employee on April 29.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, by the nine railroad employees on behalf of a class that could include 30,000 members, according to the lawsuit.

More here.

Italians Seeking Arrest of 3 CIA Agents in Rendition of Cleric

An AP newswire article by Alessandra Rizzo, via, reports that:

Prosecutors said Wednesday they had arrested two Italian intelligence officers and were seeking four more Americans as part of an investigation into the alleged CIA kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in Milan in 2003.

The arrest of the two SISMI intelligence officials was the first official acknowledgment that Italian agents were involved in a case that the government has complained was a violation of its sovereignty.

In a statement released in Milan, prosecutors said three Americans being sought were CIA agents, while the fourth worked at the joint U.S.-Italian air base of Aviano, where the Egyptian was allegedly taken after his abduction.

More here.

Jeff Bezos’ Spaceship Plans Revealed

Leonard David writes on

The public space travel business is picking up suborbital speed thanks to a variety of private rocket groups and their dream machines.

Joining the mix is Blue Origin's New Shepard Reusable Launch System. It is financially fueled by an outflow of dollars from the deep pockets of billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of

The Bezos-backed Blue Origin, LLC commercial space outfit has recently turned in a draft environmental assessment (EA) for their West Texas launch site to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (AST) in Washington, D.C.

The document is the best glimpse yet of what Blue Origin is scoping out to develop "safe, inexpensive and reliable human access to space."

More here.

Gapingvoid: Urban

Via Enjoy!

Verio Hosted Sites Suffer Mysterious Outage

Tony Dennis writes in The Inquirer:

According to to reports reaching the INQ, Brits trying to reach web sites hosted by Verio – owned by Japan's NTT, were accidentally cut off last Friday.

After approximately sixteen hours of downtime, the issue was resolved. The problem was experienced by surfers who were connected to the Net via BT's service, along with some people who connected via Deutsche Telecom's networks.

According to Verio's VP of Operations, Craig Pennington, since the sites involved were still accessible to surfers outside the UK or with different suppliers, Verio classifies this as a service degradation not a complete outage.

More here.

Defiant North Korea Fires Seventh Test Missile

Justin McCurry and Jonathan Watts write in The Guardian (UK):

North Korea ignored international condemnation of its missile tests by launching a seventh missile today, insisting it was its sovereign right to do so.

The launch came hours before the UN security council was due to convene in New York to discuss what US and Japan said would be a tough response. Japanese media, citing government officials, said the seventh missile was launched at 5.22pm local time and landed in the sea six minutes later. There was no immediate indication of the range or size of the missile.

More here.

U.S. Congressional Confusion on Internet Privacy

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

When it comes to Internet privacy, Rep. Joe Barton embodies contradictions.

The Texas Republican, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, claims to be a steadfast supporter of online privacy. He's piped up at innumerable hearings about Social Security number misuse and data breaches and has pledged, as recently as May, to enact a sweeping law protecting Americans' privacy rights.

He seems serious enough. "Whether Social Security numbers should be sold by Internet data brokers to anyone willing to pay, indistinguishable from sports scores or stock me, that's a no-brainer," Barton said. Such a practice should not be allowed, he said. "Period. End of debate."

Which is why it's so odd that Barton is just as serious about forcing Internet providers to snoop on what Americans are doing online--which would create a much bigger privacy threat, after all, than a few bottom-feeding information brokers.

More here.

Microsoft Hit with Second Lawsuit Over WGA

Jeremy Kirk writes on ComputerWorld:

Microsoft Corp. has been hit with a second lawsuit over Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), its antipiracy program that checks if the Windows operating system on a machine has a valid license.

The class-action suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, just four days after the first one. The new suit lists its plaintiff as Engineered Process Controls LLC and Univex Inc., along with citizens Edward Misfud, David DiDomizio and Martin Sifuentes, who are listed as owners of licensed copies of Windows XP running WGA.

The suit alleges WGA is spyware and that Microsoft misled consumers by labeling it as a critical security update. The plaintiffs maintain Microsoft did not make users aware that WGA frequently contacted its central servers.

More here.

UK: Tiscali Cleared Over Broadband Speed Claims

Matt Chapman writes on

Tiscali has successfully fought off complaints that it was not able to supply the broadband speeds advertised in a national magazine campaign.

The complaints were levelled at the internet service provider by members of the public from Middlesex and West Lothian who had subscribed to its broadband services.

More here.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

5 July 1687: Issac Newton Publishes 'Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica'


Isaac Newton, painted by Godfrey Kneller 1689.
Image source: Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia.

The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin: "mathematical principles of natural philosophy", often Principia or Principia Mathematica for short) is a three-volume work by Isaac Newton published on July 5, 1687. It contains the statement of Newton's laws of motion forming the foundation of classical mechanics as well as his law of universal gravitation. He derives Kepler's laws for the motion of the planets (which were first obtained empirically).

In formulating his physical theories, Newton had developed a field of mathematics known as calculus. However, the language of calculus was largely left out of the Principia. Instead, Newton recast the majority of his proofs as geometric arguments.

It is in the Principia that Newton expressed his famous Hypotheses non fingo ("I feign no hypotheses").

More here.

Maryland Tax Court Upholds Cell Phone Fees

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

Two of Maryland's largest jurisdictions did not overstep their authority by imposing cell phone fees, the state tax court has ruled.

The court rejected an attempt by four wireless providers to overturn Baltimore's $3.50 a month fee on cell phones and land lines imposed in 2004, and Montgomery County's $2 wireless fee imposed three years ago.

T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and Cingular Wireless challenged the fees in February 2005, arguing that they were really sales taxes, which only the state can impose.

The court ruled against the companies last week.

More here.

Paris Wants Wireless Internet Access Across City

Via Reuters.

Paris wants blanket wireless Internet cover by the end of 2007, helping to make it the most connected capital city in the world, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said on Tuesday.

Under a new plan, the city hopes to set up 400 free WiFi access points next year and allow Internet service providers to install antennae on strategically-located public property.

More here.

Hot Dog Tech: Japanese Man Wins 6th Straight Contest

Returning champion Takeru Kobayashi, 3rd from left, once again wins the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition on Tuesday, July 4, 2006, in Coney Island, New York. Kobayashi won his sixth straight title by beating his own record and eating 53 and 3/4 hot dogs.
Image source: The Boston Globe / AP / Seth Wenig

An AP newswire article by Verena Dobnik, via The Boston Globe, reports that:

A 160-pound wonder from Japan set a new record by devouring a sickening 53 3/4 frankfurters in 12 minutes to win the annual Independence Day hot dog eating competition on Coney Island.

The feat earned Takeru Kobayashi, 27, his sixth straight title in the event, held at the original Nathan's Famous hot dog stand on Brooklyn's seashore.

He broke his own record of 53 1/2 hot dogs, set at the same competition two years ago.

More here.