Saturday, July 29, 2006

Insanity in Silicon Valley

Sounds familiar. :-)

Carolyne Zinko writes in The San Francisco Chronicle:

Silicon Valley tech workers already have bragging rights when it comes to their workload -- they put in longer hours and take fewer vacation days than people in many other fields.

Now, they're boasting about conditions that are getting worse: having to be available to work with clients in all time zones, all the time.

"The joke I've heard is, 'Going global means I never sleep,' " said Maureen Goode, a program manager at Agilent Technologies in Palo Alto.

On a recent weekday, her first meeting started at 5 a.m., with clients in Germany (where it was 2 p.m.) and in China (where it was 8 p.m.). To plan the conference call, she relied on one of her favorite Internet bookmarks, World Clock Meeting Planner,, which produces charts useful for detailing the best and worst times for teleconferences in multiple time zones.

Goode's work is conducted in the garage -- where she, like many of her co-workers, has moved her office to avoid waking her husband and kids.

More here.

Sentry Insurance Says Customer Data Stolen

An AP newswire article, via The Mercury News, reports that:

Personal information on 72 worker's compensation claimants was stolen from Sentry Insurance and later sold over the Internet, the company said.

The data sold included names and Social Security numbers but not medical records, Sentry said. Data on an additional 112,198 claimants was also stolen but there is no evidence it was sold, the company said.

Sentry said it notified everyone affected and was providing credit monitoring services to help prevent fraud.

The thief was "a lead programmer/consultant with a nationally recognized computer contractor" hired by Sentry, based in Stevens Point, company officials said Friday.

Sentry said the consultant was arrested outside Wisconsin by the Secret Service and faces federal felony charges.

Secret Service representatives did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Saturday.

More here.

29 July 1958: NASA is Established


Via Wikipedia.

Following the Soviet space program's launch of the world's first man-made satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957, the attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts. The U.S. Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to U.S. security and technological leadership (known as "Sputnik Shock"), urged immediate and swift action; President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his advisors counseled more deliberate measures. Several months of debate produced agreement that a new federal agency was needed to conduct all nonmilitary activity in space.

On July 29, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). When it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASA consisted mainly of the four laboratories and some 8,000 employees of the government's 46-year-old research agency for aeronautics, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), though the probably most important contribution actually had its roots in the German rocket program led by Wernher von Braun, who is today regarded as the father of the United States space program. Elements of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (of which von Braun's team was a part) and the Naval Research Laboratory were incorporated into NASA.

More here.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Battlefield Tech: Fighting Roadside Bombs With Modified RC Cars

AMTI's remote-controlled bomb-detecting device.
Image source: Applied Marine Technology Inc.

Renae Merle writes in The Washington Post:

Robert Pervere's fight against insurgents in Iraq started with an Emaxx monster truck from Debbie's RC World Inc. in Chesapeake, Va., a $335 toy that he turned into a weapon for U.S. troops against roadside bombs.

The 24-year-old engineer replaced about 80 percent of the toy's plastic parts with aluminum, fastened two small surveillance cameras to the top and made room for an explosive that could blow up suspicious objects from hundreds of feet away.

More here.

NSA Suits To Be Consolidated?

Ryan Singel writes on 27B Stroke 6:

A federal judicial panel on multijurisdictionall lawsuits heard arguments today on whether to consolidate the myriad lawsuits filed against the government and against the country's largest telecoms in the wake of revelations about widespread warrantless surveillance of Americans.

The Department of Justice wants all the suits consolidated and brought to Washington, D.C., while Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Cindy Cohn urged the panel to consolidate the class-action cases to Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco, who has already read classified briefs on the program and rebuffed the government's attempt to dismiss the EFF's suit against AT&T on the grounds of national security, according to Reuters's Andrew Stern.

More here.

Glitch Continues to Plague Washington Mutual

Greg Sandoval writes on C|Net News:

An attempt by Washington Mutual to upgrade the bank's Web site has turned into a technology and public relations nightmare.

Last Saturday, an undisclosed number of customers of the financial services company found that they couldn't perform several critical online banking chores such as electronically paying bills. Many waited, believing that the problem would be corrected sooner rather than later. They were mistaken.

Six days later the bill-pay feature at Washington Mutual is still inoperative. Moreover, the bank isn't offering an estimate on when the glitch will be repaired. The situation appears to be one of the longest-lasting Web site glitches that a bank has suffered.

More here.

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Friday, July 28, 2006, at least 2,570 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,036 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is one less than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT.

More here.

Seeking Consensus on ICANN

Dave McGuire writes on

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding the future of Internet governance, and U.S. involvement in overseeing the global Domain Name System (DNS).

At the heart of the discussion was the question of whether the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has progressed enough in its development to be released from its contractual bond to the U.S. Government. NTIA is expected to renew that contract in September.

If the panelists agreed on anything, it was that simply hosting such a discussion was an extremely positive step for NTIA. Much of the Internet community, in international circles particularly, has grown increasingly dissatisfied with the U.S. government’s special role in global Internet governance. It is in everyone’s best interest to address those tensions.

More here.

First Ever World Map of Happiness Produced

World Map of Happiness
Image source: Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist, University of Leicester


A University of Leicester psychologist has produced the first ever 'world map of happiness.'

Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist at the University’s School of Psychology, analysed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR, to create a global projection of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness.

The projection, which is to be published in a psychology journal this September, will be presented at a conference later in the year. Participants in the various studies were asked questions related to happiness and satisfaction with life. The meta-analysis is based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide. For this study data has also been analysed in relation to health, wealth and access to education.

More here.

U.S. Lawmakers Largely Ignore Web at FOIA Hearing

Aliya Sternstein writes on

Lawmakers who held an oversight hearing to assess the recent presidential executive order aimed at improving disclosure of government information did not emphasize the role that information technology should play in meeting requirements.

The July 26 hearing – timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the passage of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – featured witnesses from Congress, the Government Accountability Office and the Justice Department. The witnesses barely used the words “technology,” “electronic” or “online” in their testimony. The House Government Reform Committee's Government Management, Finance and Accountability Subcommittee held the hearing.

Only the final panel, comprised of open-government advocates, discussed the importance of IT in public access to government information.

More here.

ACLU: U.S. Spying on Anti-War, Activist Groups

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

The American Civil Liberties Union released a compilation of covert government surveillance of war protesters and other political activists in California, decrying it as evidence of a “greater expansion of government power and the abuse of power” since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The ACLU’s Northern California branch said the findings show oversight of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies is too weak and called for the state to create a new watchdog over their activities.

More here.

Canadian Accused in International Child Porn Case

An AP newswire article, via CNN, reports that:

A Canadian man faces an array of child pornography charges after a massive international investigation that could involve more than 100 victims in Canada and England, authorities said Friday.

Mark Gary Bedford, 21, is accused of talking young females -- some as young as 9 years old -- into exposing themselves over an Internet webcam, and then threatening them with rape, bodily harm and death if they did not cooperate, police said at a news conference.

More here.

Bot-Slaying ISP Hall of Fame

Brian Krebs writes on Security Fix:

"Botnets" -- large armies of hijacked personal computers that bad guys use for everything from spamming to knocking Web sites offline -- are a constant security threat to business and home users alike. Disabling the online communications channels that cyber criminals use to control these drone armies is no easy feat, as more than a million individual bots are enslaved by virus writers each month. But some Internet service providers (ISPs) do a far better job than others at disrupting these networks, and as such deserve special attention for their efforts.

Enter the folks at -- a group of volunteer security junkies who purposefully infect their own computers with new hacker code each day in order to track down and infiltrate botnets and report details to ISPs about the most active and pernicious botnets on their networks. Shadowserver this week launched its "Hall of Fame" page, naming Comcast Corp. and a handful of other ISPs large and small as the most responsive in slaying botnet control channels.

More here.

Appeals Court Upholds Ebbers Conviction

An AP newswire article by David P. Caruso, via, reports that:

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the conviction of former WorldCom Inc. Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers on charges related to a multibillion dollar accounting fraud.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could clear the way for Ebbers to begin serving a 25-year prison sentence for his actions as head of the telecommunications company.

Convicted in 2005, Ebbers had argued on appeal that he had been denied a fair trial and that his lengthy prison sentence was unreasonable.

More here.

Journalism and Espionage - NSA Whistleblower Subpoenaed

Ryan Singel writes on 27B Stroke 6:

The Justice Department issued a federal grand jury subpoena Wednesday to a former National Security Agency intelligence agent who has publicly confirmed he was one of the sources for the New York Times' expose of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.

Russell Tice, who has tried unsuccessfully to brief Congress members who sit on the Intelligence committee members on what he considered to be illegal NSA programs, was served with the subpoena on Wednesday.

According to the subpoena, Tice is being asked to testify about possible disclosures of classified information that is detrimental to the security of the United States, specifically violations of the Espionage Act.

While the subpoena is mostly vague as to the scope of the grand jury's investigation, it is likely connected to a Department of Justice investigation of the New York Times story from December, which revealed that the government was began a widespread warrantless eavesdropping of American's overseas communications shortly after 9/11.

More here.

U.S. Senator Blasts Homeland Security's Net Efforts

Anne Broache writes on C|Net News:

A Republican senator on Friday blasted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's readiness for a massive cyberattack, saying he hasn't seen any improvements since bringing in department officials for questioning last summer.

"Despite spending millions of dollars over the past year, DHS continues to struggle with how to effectively form and maintain effective public-private partnerships in support of cybersecurity," Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said at a hearing convened by a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee, of which he is chairman.

Coburn, the only politician present at the 90-minute hearing, grilled top computer security officials from Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). He also asked private-sector companies for suggestions for government action.

More here.

From Bible Stories To 'Porn Radio'

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

KFYE-FM hasn't budged from the Fresno-area dial, but it's about as far as you can get from the Christian music, sermons and Bible stories it was broadcasting until about a week ago.

Now it calls itself "Porn Radio" — "all sex radio, all the time," with a suggestion that people under 21 not listen.

More here.

NASA Websites Defaced in Opposition to Israel Agression in Lebanon?

Marcelo Dos Santos de Almeida writes on zone-h.

The war in Lebanon is now showing its consequences in the digital world and a huge number of websites has been attacked and defaced as a protest against the invasion of Lebanon by Israel.

Today two NASA websites were attacked as well. The intrusion was carried out by the Chilean group of crackers known as Byond Hackers Crew through a leak in the SQL Injection they entered the system and subtracted user names, passwords and e-mails from the NASA web server.

More here.

Update: More info and links to mirrors of the defacements here.

Austin Energy Looks at Broadband Over Power Lines

Via The Austin Business Journal.

The dot-com boom has come and gone, but the City of Austin wants to get into the Internet business.

At yesterday's city council meeting, the council approved a $317,500 proposal to pay a Virginia outfit called GTSI Corp. to do a technical trial to design, build, and operate a system to provide broadband Internet service over the city's power grid.

More here.

U.S. Senator Is Victim of ID Theft

Andrew Katz and Zach Wolf report on ABC News' "The Blotter":

Senate minority whip Harry Reid (D-NV) spends time on Capitol Hill and in his home state of Nevada. But he recently found charges for a massive shopping spree on his credit card all the way across the country in North Carolina.

The only problem was that it wasn't actually Sen. Reid who was yielding the power of his credit.

Like so many other Americans, Sen. Reid is one of the most recent victims to the fastest-growing crime in the country, identity theft. Sen. Reid discovered "a handful of charges that did not belong to him," according to Reid's spokesman Jim Manley.

Even though Reid did not have his card physically stolen, someone managed to obtain his number in order to charge around $2,000 of goods, said Manley.

More here.

User Friendly: MySpace Power Surge


Click for larger image.

U.S. Judge: Spy Satellite Budget Must Be Released Under FOIA

Via UPI.

A U.S. judge has ordered the agency that builds spy satellites to process its budget request from last year for release under the Freedom of Information Act.

The ruling does not mean that any classified information will be disclosed, but it does over-rule the agency's claim that the unclassified parts of its so-called blue book -- the document it submits to Congress to justify its spending requests -- are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

The Federation of American Scientists filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington after the National Reconnaissance Office claimed its blue book was a highly sensitive "operational file" and therefore exempt from FOIA.

More here.

U.S. Nabs More Web Gambling Agents

Via Red Herring.

Eight men are scheduled to appear in court on Friday in Oakland, California, after they were arrested and booked on charges they operated as agents for an online gambling business based in Costa Rica.

U.S. District Attorney Kevin Ryan said the men collected wagers in the form of cash and checks from bettors in the United States on behalf of

They then handed over the funds to “runners” who transmitted or transferred the money to the gambling firm.

The agents, who were paid a percentage of their bettors’ losses, were charged with operating an illegal gambling business, money-laundering conspiracy, and conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business.

More here.

Confessions of a Cybermule

Kim Zetter writes on Wired News:

John Dillinger was a bank robber whose tool of trade was a machine gun. But in today's cybercrime era, the weapon of choice for "John Dillinger" is an MSR206, a card-writing machine used for encoding bank account numbers and other data onto the magnetic stripe of bank credit and debit cards.

John Dillinger is the online nick of a 44-year-old bank card thief who says he's stolen about $150,000 in the last two years using debit-account and PIN numbers obtained through hacking and phishing scams.

In March, he was one of many thieves who struck Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo and other banks and credit unions in a cash-out operation that made national headlines and involved stolen debit-account and PIN numbers taken from a hacked database.

According to Dillinger, he obtained at least 450 numbers from a Russian hacker he met online, then used them to withdraw thousands of dollars from ATM machines before banks canceled the cards and issued new ones to customers.

More here.

Warner Bros. To Cut Link With Adware Firm Zango

Brian Krebs writes in The Washington Post:

Warner Bros. Studios, home to Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo and Harry Potter, said yesterday that it plans to terminate a business relationship with Zango Inc., an adware company that has been offering free games on the Warner Bros. Web site in exchange for permission to install a computer program that could push advertisements and pornography.

Zango is offering free downloads of games on a Warner Bros. Web page called "Fun Stuff" that appears to be for children. But when users click on the game, they're directed to a page that asks for permission to install on the computer a program called Zango Search Assistant. Hidden in the terms of agreement is the disclosure that users may receive adult-oriented ads through it.

More here.

28 July 1976: Deadliest Earthquake in Modern History


A snapshot of the Tangshan devastation.
Image source: AIRCurrent

Via The History Channel Online.

At 3:42 a.m., an earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 magnitude on the Richter scale flattens Tangshan, a Chinese industrial city with a population of about one million people.

As almost everyone was asleep in their beds, instead of outside in the relative safety of the streets, the quake was especially costly in terms of human life.
An estimated 242,000 people in Tangshan and surrounding areas were killed, making the earthquake one of the deadliest in recorded history, surpassed only by the 300,000 who died in the Calcutta earthquake in 1737, and the 830,000 thought to have perished.

More here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Kaiser Permanente Joins Lost Laptop Crowd

Ryan Singel writes on 27B Stroke 6:

Kaiser Permanente mailed letters this week to 160,000 of its Northern California-based HMO subscribers, informing them that a laptop containing their personal information, including their phone numbers and Kaiser numbers, had been stolen.

The data was being used to market Hearing Aid Services to 160,000 Health Plan members in Northern California, though the person who tipped Wired News to the story has no history of hearing problems.

No social security numbers were on the laptop, which was stolen sometime in late June from a "secure office" in the Permanente Medical Group Business Development Group, according to a Kaiser spokeswoman and a member represent answering a toll free number for Kaiser members.

The letter suggested that the risk may be limited, as the laptop required a user name and password, but made no mention of encryption.

More here.

Canada: Wireless Overtakes Local Fixed-Line Service

Catherine McLean writes in The Globe and Mail:

Cellphones and other wireless devices now rule the Canadian telecommunications industry after leapfrogging the old-fashioned local telephone last year.

For the first time, phone companies generated more revenue in 2005 from wireless products than from local service, their traditional bread and butter, according to an annual report by the country's federal communications regulator.

More here.

U.S. House Democrats Oppose Bush's Spy Law Changes

Anne Broache writes on C|Net News:

Republican-backed legislation designed to broaden a 1978 eavesdropping law came under renewed attack on Thursday by Democrats who have been briefed about the details of the Bush administration's warrantless telephone and Internet monitoring program.

Meanwhile, the handful of Republicans present at a U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee hearing here, including Chairman Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, touted a new proposal called the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act. Supporters say its provisions would speed initiation of terrorist investigations and account for use of communications technologies unforeseen by the 28-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

More here.

House Passes Broad Mandatory Internet Filtering Bill

Via The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT).

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would force schools and libraries to block chat and social networking sites as a condition of receiving federal E-rate funding.

This bill goes far beyond the already broad mandate that requires schools and libraries to filter out obscenity and "harmful-to-minors" content and would block access to many legal and valuable web sites and Internet tools. Because chat and social networking are woven into the fabric of Internet communication, a huge range of sites may be declared off limits in libraries and schools.

The bill appoints the Federal Communications Commission as the arbiter of what can and cannot be accessed in libraries around the country, meaning that for the first time, the federal government would be getting into the business of evaluating and screening wholly lawful Internet content.

More here.

MessageLabs Silent on Sale Rumors

Dan Kaplan writes on SC Magazine Online:

MessageLabs officials are staying mum on rumors the New York-based email security and managed services provider is on the selling block.

Ferris Research, a San Francisco-based research institute that focuses on the messaging field, published analysis Wednesday saying: "MessageLabs is looking for a buyer, and has engaged (financial firm) UBS as an investment banker. We believe the rumor to be correct."

More here.

U.S. Defense Contractors Sending Classified Work to China?

Michael Kanellos writes on the C|Net Politics Blog:

First, China began to assemble household products for the U.S. market. Then the country graduated to notebooks. Now Chinese companies are performing research for classified systems bound for the Defense Department.

So says David Lewis, CEO of StarTech. StarTech is a high-end outsourcing firm. It has retained students and professors at Tsinghua University, China's most prestigious technical university, and contracts them out to independent companies in the West. StarTech can also retain scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. (One of the chief scientists at the CAS, Jian Mian Heng is a former HP scientist and a close relative of China's former president Jiang Zemin).

"Our largest customer is a U.S. defense contractor working on black projects for the U.S.," he said at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit.

More here.

Mysterious Quasar Casts Doubt on Black Holes

David Shiga writes on

A controversial alternative to black hole theory has been bolstered by observations of an object in the distant universe, researchers say. If their interpretation is correct, it might mean black holes do not exist and are in fact bizarre and compact balls of plasma called MECOs.

Rudolph Schild of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, led a team that observed a quasar situated 9 billion light years from Earth. A quasar is a very bright, compact object, whose radiation is usually thought to be generated by a giant black hole devouring its surrounding matter.

A rare cosmological coincidence allowed Schild and his colleagues to probe the structure of the quasar in much finer detail than is normally possible. Those details suggest that the central object is not a black hole. "The structure of the quasar is not at all what had been theorised," Schild told New Scientist.

More here.

Agnitum: Microsoft Kernel Patch Protection Endangers Security Vendors

Alex Eckelberry writes on the Sunbelt Software blog:

Interesting post by the ubercoders at Agnitum on Kernel Patch Protection (a new security feature introduced by Microsoft for 64–bit systems):

New security measures introduced by Microsoft under the name "Kernel Patch Protection" are being presented to the world as bringing a new level of security to users. This security will be provided by a combination of Microsoft security software and Windows operating system kernel design.

Agnitum security experts have analyzed these new measures, and it is their informed opinion that these measures will actually cause more harm than good, for two primary reasons:

  • It will be more complicated for third-party security software companies to install and maintain their software on Windows PCs. In some circumstances, kernel patch protection may even block the installation of third-party security software.
  • It will be easier for hackers to share and use this new technology than for legitimate software developers.

More here.

Verizon Pushes Network Limits

Via Red Herring.

In an unusual move, Verizon Wireless, the second-largest mobile carrier in the United States, announced a technology advancement project Thursday that involves five of its largest equipment suppliers, the companies that normally control the development of new technology.

The project involves pushing the limits of a standard called the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), which describes an efficient means of providing multimedia services such as voice, video, data, and mobile on a common IP network.

Verizon Wireless Chief Technical Officer Dick Lynch said his company has been working with Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel Networks, and Qualcomm for about a year on the enhancement to IMS, appropriately called A-IMS for Advances to IMS.

A-IMS, which was developed by a Verizon Wireless task force made up of the five prominent U.S.-based telecommunications companies, adds functions that were not completely accommodated in the standards development process.

More here.

PhotoShop of the Day: Shut up

Click for larger image.

More Than 95% of All e-Mail is 'Junk' ?

Mark Ward writes for The BBC:

More than 95% of e-mail is junk, be it spam, error messages or viruses, report mail monitoring firms.

Analysis of the contents of millions of e-mails has revealed that less than 4% is legitimate traffic.

Further work has shown that most of this junk mail is originating on hijacked home computers.

E-mail security firm Return Path said 99% of the computers it monitors that send mail have been taken over by spammers or virus writers.

More here.

User Friendly: MyZunes


Click for larger image.

MySpace Outage Pinpointed at L.A. Telecom Building

Via Netcraft.

The power outage that knocked MySpace offline was the second major failure in the past year at the telecom building in Los Angeles where MySpace houses much of its operations. The downtime at the Garland Building (1200 W. 7th) left MySpace users wondering how one of the web's busiest sites could go dark so easily. Adding to the headscratching was the fact that MySpace is a customer of Limelight Networks, a content delivery network that should (in theory) provide distributed caching and storage.

Other tenants at the Garland Building that were affected included DreamHost, which reported on the weekend power outages on its company blogs. The building lost grid power during a series of rolling blackouts that affected the Los Angeles area as California coped with stifling heat and record demand for electricity. The loss of power at Garland was blamed on the failure of a UPS system (uninterruptible power supply), which normally maintains power to equipment while generators start up.

More here.

EU in Antitrust Probe of Rival DVD Format Creators

Via Reuters.

European Commission antitrust officials are probing the licensing strategies of two rival new generation DVD developers, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, the EU executive said on Thursday.

HD DVD was created by Toshiba Corp, while Blu-ray Disc was developed by a Sony-led consortium which includes Philips, Samsung and Sharp Corporation.

The two products will be battling for a share in the lucrative audio-visual market providing they can convince consumers they should upgrade from their current DVD standard.

More here.

U.S. Can Withhold Security Firm Data

David G. Savage writes in The Los Angeles Times:

The U.S. government can keep secret the names of private security contractors involved in serious shooting incidents in Iraq, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request by the Los Angeles Times.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper in Los Angeles said Tuesday that she deferred to the judgment of Army officers who said the disclosure could "provide an advantage to insurgents" and aid them in targeting contractors who provide protection at job sites.

More here.

US-VISIT Expands to Include Permanent U.S. Residents

Christian Beckner writes on Homeland Security Watch:

DHS released a notice in the Federal Register today (noticed quickly by the New York Times) that announces plans to increase the categories of people who will be required to enroll in the US-VISIT system (i.e. be fingerprinted and have their picture taken) when they enter and exit the United States, to include:

  • All legal permanent residents (green card holders) living in the United States;
  • Aliens seeking admission on immigrant visas;
  • Refugees and asylees;
  • Canadians who are in the United States as students, journalists, crew members, temporary workers, intracompany transferees, and athletes (but not Canadians visiting for short-term business or pleasure…they will be covered under pending WHTI regs).

Is the U.S. entry system ready for this additional work burden? This could potentially lead to longer wait times at certain land border crossings and airports if not managed correctly. Also, I would expect there to be some serious privacy-related backlash on this decision, given the fact that lawful permanent residents are considered "US persons" from a legal standpoint, and under law should have the same privacy rights as U.S. citizens.

More here.

Big Gaps Found in Japanese Cyber Security

Via UPI.

A research project in Japan has shown large security gaps in corporate computer security programs, putting personnel information at risk.

The research by NRI Secure Technologies Ltd., a subsidiary of Nomura Research Institute Ltd., showed that half of 167 Web Sites examined could be entered by hackers and personnel information lifted using common hacking methods, the Asahi Shimbun reported Thursday.

The information gathered by the NRI examiner, an expert in computer security, included names, addresses, contact information, credit card numbers and other personal data of customers and users.

More here.

Bruce Schneier: How Bot Those Nets?

Bruce Schneier writes on Wired News:

Initially, bot networks were used for just one thing: denial-of-service attacks. Hackers would use them against each other, fighting hacker feuds in cyberspace by attacking each other's computers. The first widely publicized use of a distributed intruder tool -- technically not a botnet, but practically the same thing -- was in February 2000, when Canadian hacker Mafiaboy directed an army of compromised computers to flood,, eBay, Dell Computer and other sites with debilitating volumes of traffic. Every newspaper carried that story.

These days, bot networks are more likely to be controlled by criminals than by hackers. The important difference is the motive: profit. Networks are being used to send phishing e-mails and other spam. They're being used for click fraud. They're being used as an extortion tool: Pay up or we'll DDoS you!

Mostly, they're being used to collect personal data for fraud -- commonly called "identity theft." Modern bot software doesn't just attack other computers; it attacks its hosts as well. The malware is packed with keystroke loggers to steal passwords and account numbers. In fact, many bots automatically hunt for financial information, and some botnets have been built solely for this purpose -- to gather credit card numbers, online banking passwords, PayPal accounts, and so on, from compromised hosts.

More here.

Google-Perfect 10 Legal Battle Puts Internet Freedoms in Balance

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

Key Internet freedoms are under threat in a legal battle between online search leader Google and pornography publisher Perfect 10, a prominent Internet rights foundation said.

At issue in the landmark case being appealed to the San Francisco circuit court of appeals is whether Google infringed on copyrights by creating links to Perfect 10 pictures copied from its website and posted elsewhere on the Internet, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

"The stakes are high and everybody is out expressing an opinion," EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann told AFP. "Links are really the whole enchilada when it comes to the worldwide web."

More here.

Kazaa to Pay Music Industry $100M

Via Reuters.

The music industry has reached a legal settlement with veteran antagonist Kazaa, one of the world's best known file-sharing networks and a longtime source of illicit music and movie downloads.

Under the terms of the deal, Kazaa's owner Sharman Networks will pay the world's four major music companies -- Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music -- more than $100 million and commit to immediately going legal, said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

More here.

27 July 1949: Initial Flight of The de Havilland Comet, The First Jet-Powered Airliner


Royal Air Force Comet C.2.
Image Source: Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia.

The de Havilland Comet of Britain was the world's first commercial jet airliner. It is infamous for being the first to experience the metal fatigue of jet aircraft due to high flight altitudes.

Design work began in 1946 under Ronald Bishop and the intention was to have a commercial aircraft by 1952. The DH 106 Comet first flew on July 27, 1949. At the controls was de Havilland test pilot, John Cunningham, the same man who set a new altitude record two years later in a de Havilland DH 100 Vampire. The design was similar to other airliners except that four of the new, albeit underpowered, de Havilland Ghost 50 Mk1 turbojets were mounted within the wings, in pairs close to the fuselage. This was thought to prove the aircraft more aerodynamic when flying at high speeds.

The airliner underwent almost three years of tests and fixes and the first commercial flights did not begin until January 22, 1952 with British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). It became an instant hit with the elite market to whom it was aimed. The first passenger flight was in May from London Heathrow Airport to Johannesburg. The airliner proved to be around twice as fast as contemporary craft and with almost 30,000 passengers carried in the first year over fifty Comets were ordered.

More here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Limited Unlimited Doubletalk: Unlimited Data For Limited Types Of Data

Mike Masnick writes over on

The story of bogus "unlimited" services, especially from Verizon Wireless who has been offering extremely limited EVDO wireless service which they advertise as "unlimited," isn't new at all. For quite some time, we've been wondering why no one has gone after them for false advertising.

Still, the execs at Verizon Wireless keep trying to talk their way out of the fact that they kick people off the network if they use more than 10 gigs a month of service (that's a limit, right?) even if that number isn't listed in any marketing or legal material.

Recently, a Verizon Wireless exec tried to brush off the issue by claiming (falsely) that they could kick people off, but didn't. Considering how many times we've seen complaints from people suddenly cut off by Verizon Wireless, that seems to be an outright lie.

More here.

Always-On: YouTube Says it Will Keep Videos Short

John Boudreau writes in The Mercury News:

Not coming soon to YouTube: full-length movies or other time-consuming video.

Instead, the off-the-charts-successful online video distributor is aiming for the quick-click generation that likes its entertainment in bites of two-and-a-half minutes or so, said Chad Hurley, chief executive and co-founder of the San Mateo start-up.

"We are not trying to stream full-length programming," said Hurley, who was part of a panel at the annual Always-On Network summit on Wednesday at Stanford University. "We have developed a new clip culture."

More here.

Warrentless Border Laptop Searches Upheld by U.S Court

Note: While I support locking up child porn offenders, it certainly rubs me the wrong way that "... American citizens effectively enjoy no right to privacy when stopped at the border..." by Homeland Security.

While I may think that this decision is rife with potential for abuse (in my opinion), I encourage you to read this article (and the court's decision) and decide for yourself.

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

In January 2004, Stuart Romm traveled to Las Vegas to attend a training seminar for his new employer. Then, on Feb. 1, Romm continued the business trip by boarding a flight to Kelowna, British Columbia.

Romm was denied entry by the Canadian authorities because of his criminal history. When he returned to the Seattle-Tacoma airport, he was interviewed by two agents of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.

They asked to search his laptop, and Romm agreed. Agent Camille Sugrue would later testify that she used the "EnCase" software to do a forensic analysis of Romm's hard drive.

That analysis and a subsequent one found some 42 child pornography images, which had been present in the cache used by Romm's Web browser and then deleted. But because in most operating systems, only the directory entry is removed when a file is "deleted," the forensic analysis was able to recover the actual files.

During the trial, Romm's attorney asked that the evidence from the border search be suppressed. The trial judge disagreed. Romm was eventually sentenced to two concurrent terms of 10 and 15 years for knowingly receiving and knowingly possessing child pornography.

The 9th Circuit refused to overturn his conviction, ruling that American citizens effectively enjoy no right to privacy when stopped at the border.

More here.

Creepy Statistic of the Day: The Bandwidth of the Eye

Via BoingBoing.

Scientists have estimated that the human retina can transmit data at approximately 10 million bits per second, equivalent to a standard ethernet connection.

The researchers at the University of Pennsylvania came to that number by measuring spikes of electrical impulses from a (disembodied) guinea pig retina "looking" at movies of biological motion, like a salamander swimming.

The ganglion cells in the retina were then classified as either "brisk" or "sluggish," depending on how fast they fired.

More here.

U.S. Toll In Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Wednesday, July 26, 2006, at least 2,569 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,030 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is four higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Wednesday at 10 a.m. EDT.

More here.

Two Navy Computers With Personal Data of 31,000 Stolen

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

Two laptop computers with personal information on about 31,000 Navy recruiters and their prospective recruits were stolen from Navy offices in New Jersey in June and July, the Navy disclosed on Wednesday.

It was the third time in little more than a month that personal data on Navy personnel has been lost or unintentionally released publicly over the Internet.

"There have been no reports of illegal usage of personal data identified by these incidents," said Navy spokesman, Lt. Bashon W. Mann, adding that the Navy is identifying the affected individuals.

He said the information on the laptops was secured by several layers of password protection.

More here.

U.S. Judge Extends Betting Ban on BETonSPORTS

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

A federal judge on Wednesday extended a restraining order on BETonSPORTS that bars the Internet bookmaker from accepting wagers from U.S. bettors at least through the end of July.

The temporary restraining order bars the Britain-based bookmaker from soliciting or accepting wagers from the United States through July 31, when a permanent injunction may be sought, the brief order from U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry said.

No lawyers for BETonSPORTS showed up at the hearing.

More here.

U.S. Voices Openness to Private Net Control

Anne Broache writes on C|Net News:

The United States may be willing to cede at least some of its historic control of the Internet domain name system after all, a U.S. Commerce Department official said Wednesday.

Despite bold statements last year that seemed to indicate otherwise and ignited a worldwide debate, John Kneuer, the acting assistant secretary for communications and information, said the government "remains committed" to private management of the DNS.

More here.

The Register Saves Los Alamos Lab Website From Hooligans

Ashlee Vance writes on The Register:

Forget managing a $2.2bn weapons lab, Los Alamos National Security is struggling just to keep its web site up.

LANS - the new manager of the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory - allowed the registration of its web site to lapse last week and didn't fix the problem until being contacted about it by The Register. The site tossed up a Go Daddy expiration page for days. Ever the alert citizens, we looked to purchase the site in order to hand it over to Los Alamos. Go Daddy, however, said that its fantastic customer service results in clients receiving a 92-day grace period for site renewals.

Hoping LANS would take care of the matter itself, we then called the company to let it know about the problem. A LANS official said the downed web site had gone unnoticed. She then added that management would debate what to do with the site next and might leave it down to save money.

Tellingly, the site went live again with a new registration about an hour after we called.

More here.

Russian Rocket Carrying 18 Satellites Crashes After Launch

A Reuters newswire article, via ABC News, reports that:

A Russian Dnepr rocket carrying satellites crashed shortly after take-off late on Wednesday from the Kazakh launch pad of Baikonur, Russian media reported.

RIA Novosti said the first and second stages of the rocket failed to separate correctly after 86 seconds of flight, causing the Dnepr — a converted intercontinental missile — to crash.

The agencies said the rocket was carrying the Belka, a monitoring satellite that would have been the ex-Soviet republic of Belarus' first man-made object in space, along with 17 other satellites.

More here.

Laptop with 12,000 Armstrong Worker's Personal Data Stolen

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

A laptop stolen from a payroll auditor contains personal information on 12,000 current and former Armstrong World Industries Inc. employees, the company said.

The data include home addresses and phone numbers, Social Security numbers and how much the people were paid. A two-page letter sent by Armstrong last week said the company was not aware of any misuse of the information, and that a password was required to access the information on the computer.

The laptop was stolen from a locked car belonging to a Deloitte & Touche LLP employee, Armstrong said. Deborah G. Harrington, a spokeswoman for the consulting firm, declined to comment.

More here.

New York Computer Holding Personal Data Found

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

A computer that was lost with the personal information of as many as 540,000 injured workers has been located, state officials said Wednesday.

The FBI and the private company that had been in possession of the state-owned personal computer would not say how or where it was found, only that it was in "a secure location."

Officials said Monday the computer was missing from a secured facility of Chicago-based CS Stars, an independent insurance brokerage. Most of the workers are New Yorkers from across the state who are in two special funds of the workers' compensation system.

More here.

U.K. Government Questions U.S. Use of Airport to Transfer Bombs to Israel

Via Bloomberg News.

The British government will make a "formal protest" to the U.S. if it used a Scottish airport to transfer bombs to Israel, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said today.

Beckett has already told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice she is "not happy" about reports that Prestwick airport, near Glasgow, was used as part of the transportation of `bunker busting' bombs. Her comments mark the first public split between Britain and the U.S. over the fighting in the Middle East.

The Daily Telegraph today reported that two planes carrying GBU 28 laser-guided bombs landed at Prestwick last weekend to refuel en route to Israel, citing unidentified defense sources. Beckett, who is in Rome with Rice for a conference on the Middle East crisis, said her department was investigating the claim.

More here.

Toon: Official Hezbollah Silhouette Chart

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Unable to Attend HOPE: Famed Hacker, Kevin Mitnick, Felled by Flu

An AP newswire article by Frank Bajak, via ABC Technology News, reports that:

This Andean highlands capital [Bogota, Columbia] has twice felled famed hacker and security consultant Kevin Mitnick.

"I'm looking forward to getting on the first plane to the United States," Mitnick said Wednesday from his hospital room.

Mitnick, 42, said he has been laid up for some three days with a nasty flu, with a fever reaching 104 degrees.

On a separate visit back in May, the author of "The Art of Intrusion" and "The Art of Deception" said, he had spent a day in the hospital for tests after experiencing chest pains and elevated blood pressure.

More here.

Subsidiary of Canadian Medical Association Reports Possible Privacy Data Loss

A Canadian Press article, via The Globe and Mail, reports that:

Hundreds of angry doctors and their families are demanding answers from a financial services company after a laptop containing thousands of personal files was stolen from a car in a parking lot.

"I'm furious," said one of the clients, who asked not to be identified. "We trust these people with virtually all our financial information."

About 8,000 clients of MD Management, a subsidiary of the Canadian Medical Association, received a letter from the company dated June 29 warning them that a laptop computer containing detailed information about their financial and professional circumstances had been stolen.

The computer was taken from an MD Management employee's locked car during a break-in, said Guy Belanger, president of the MD Financial Group.

More here.

Japan Plans September Launch for New Spy Satellite

An AP newswire article by Eric Talmadge, via, reports that:

Japan will launch an intelligence-gathering satellite in early September, the country's space agency announced Wednesday.

The satellite, part of a program started in 2003 in concern over secretive North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, will be launched atop the domestically developed H2-A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan, the space agency JAXA said in a statement.

It would be the third intelligence-gathering satellite Japan has launched. The first two were put into orbit in March 2003. JAXA plans to launch a fourth next winter.

More here.

India Lodges Protest in Alleged U.S. Spy Ops

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

India has lodged a protest with the US, accusing it of using an initiative against internet crime as a cover for spying.

The protest follows the arrest of three senior officials - representing India on the cyber security forum - for maintaining "unauthorised contacts" with a US diplomat, the Indian Express reported.

The officer of India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, and two others from the National Security Council Secretariat, were booked under the Official Secrets Act after confessing to meeting the US diplomat without approval.

The intelligence officer, arrested last Thursday, has also admitted to having 10 portable computer memory devices, the report said.

More here.

Frequent-Flier Miles Expose CIA Operation

John Crewdson writes in The Chicago Tribune:

The man and woman were pretending to be American business executives on international assignments, so they did what globe-trotting executives do. While traveling abroad they used their frequent-flier cards as often as possible to gain credits toward free flights.

In fact, the pair were covert operatives working for the CIA. Thanks to their diligent use of frequent-flier programs, Italian prosecutors have been able to reconstruct much of their itinerary during 2003, including trips to Brussels, Venice, London, Vienna and Oslo.

More here.

Quote of the Day: Bret Fausett

"If you can't handle basic remote participation, how can you claim any moral authority to oversee the DNS and IP address allocation?"

- Bret Fausett, over on his LexText blog, bemoaning the fact that the RealAudio feed from the NTIA Conference is completely unwatchable.

User Friendly: Get Zuned!


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AOL Fixes XSS Hack

Nate Mook writes on BetaNews:

AOL's newly launched user-driven fell victim to a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack early Wednesday, the result of the site not properly sanitizing submitted news stories. Visitors to encountered crude pop-up messages and redirects to rival site Digg.

The problem stemmed from inadequate filtering of stories, which did not strip out JavaScript code that exploited an XSS issue. "The site was never compromised," an AOL spokesperson told BetaNews. "The issue lasted a couple hours before it was fixed." The company says it does not believe any malicious code was submitted during that timeframe.

More here.

U.S. Broadband Subscribers Grew by 33% in 2005

Via Reuters.

U.S. high-speed Internet subscriptions soared 33 percent last year to 50.2 million lines, according to the latest data [.pdf] released by the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday.

More consumers signed up for digital subscriber line (DSL) service from telephone companies like AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. than cable modem service from companies like Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc.

DSL subscriptions jumped 5.7 million lines versus cable companies adding 4.2 million subscribers in 2005, according to the FCC. The cable industry's market share dropped 3.5 percentage points to 57.5 percent while DSL gained 3.3 percentage points to reach 40.5, the agency said.

More here.

Microsoft to Release IE 7 as Automatic Update

Elizabeth Montalbano writes on InfoWorld:

Microsoft will deliver the next version of its Internet Explorer (IE) browser to consumers via its Automatic Updates (AU) service, but the company will give enterprises a tool to make corporate desktops bypass the update.

Microsoft plans to release the final version of IE 7 in the fourth quarter of 2006, with the browser going out via AU soon after, said Gary Schare, director of IE product management for the software company in Redmond, Washington.

Although software delivered via AU usually is sent automatically without any interaction from the PC user, Microsoft will give users a chance to opt in or out of receiving the IE 7 release, Schare said. This is following the same tactic Microsoft used when it released Windows XP Service Pack 2, which included the previous version of IE, he said. When the IE 7 release comes up on a PC's AU service, the service will ask users if they want to install it now, not install it at all or install it later.

More here.

Gapingvoid: I Can't Believe Calacanis...

Via Enjoy!

Microsoft Facing Shareholder Net Neutrality Vote

Ed Oswald writes on BetaNews:

Microsoft is attempting to quash a shareholder movement to have it explain its net neutrality position, asking the Securities and Exchange Commission if it could legally remove the proposal from its proxy vote sheets without facing any kind of penalty. The company is arguing that the issue is part of its day to day business and can be excluded under securities laws.

The motion was brought forth by The Free Enterprise Action Fund. The fund claims that net neutrality is needless new government regulation, and said Microsoft owes its shareholders an explanation. The group says the company's focus should be on innovation rather than regulation.

More here.

Crash and Burn: XM Faces the Music

Paul R. La Monica writes on CNN/Money:

XM Satellite Radio has crashed and burned and now some are starting to wonder if the company could be a takeover target. Shares have plummeted more than 60 percent this year.

Tough competition from rival Sirius Satellite Radio, which now employs shock jock Howard Stern, appears to be taking a toll. XM lowered its year-end subscriber and revenue forecasts in May. Analysts are also worried about increased advertising and promotional expenses as XM tries to stay ahead of Sirius.

More here.

CIA: Warrants Hurt al Qaeda Hunt

A Reuters newswire article, via Wired News, reports that:

CIA Director Michael Hayden told senators on Wednesday that the requirement of court orders to carry out electronic surveillance inside the United States was ill-suited for tracking al Qaeda and other militant groups.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the intelligence official who crafted President George W. Bush's domestic spying program also said international phone calls targeted by warrantless surveillance are the most valuable to protecting national security.

"Why should our laws make it more difficult to target al Qaeda communications that are most important to us -- those entering or leaving this country," said Hayden, an Air Force general who set up the administration's eavesdropping program in 2001 as director of the National Security Agency.

Congress is debating how to accommodate the legally questionable NSA eavesdropping program by changing the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

More here.

Washington Post Editorial: Blank Check to Spy

Via The Washington Post.

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on modernizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the 1978 law that regulates domestic wiretapping and searches. The hearing is an effort on the part of committee Chairman Arlen Specter to move along his very dangerous bill -- negotiated with the White House -- to put the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program before the federal courts. In an op-ed in these pages Monday, Mr. Specter described his proposal as a compromise with President Bush to ensure judicial review of the NSA program, which he called "a festering sore on our body politic." Yet his legislation would essentially respond to this festering sore by shooting the patient.

No matter how adamantly Mr. Specter denies that his bill would give Congress's blessing to domestic spying outside of FISA's strictures, it does so explicitly and unambiguously. It adds the following language to a statute that now provides the sole legal means for the government to spy on Americans in national security cases: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence with respect to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers." Mr. Specter argues that the bill doesn't accept the president's assertions of unilateral power but merely acknowledges them. But this is incorrect.

More here.

ICANN's 'Add Grace Period' Being Abused

BJHacker writes on Kuro5hin:

Of more than 35 million domain names registered in May 2006, less than 3 million were legitimate! The remaining 92% were dropped within five days without incurring registration fees.

A loophole in the ICANN regulations permits domain registrars to delete a registration within five days a receive a full refund. This has led to a growing practice dubbed Domain Name Kiting.

More here.

TiVo Is Watching When You Don’t Watch

Saul Hansell writes in The New York Times:

As the advertising and television industries debate how to measure viewers of shows watched on digital video recorders, the pioneering maker of the recorders, TiVo, is getting into the argument. It is starting a research division to sell data about how its 4.4 million users watch commercials — or, more often, skip them.

The service is based on an analysis of the second-by-second viewing patterns of a nightly sample of 20,000 TiVo users, whose recorders report back to TiVo on what was watched and when.

On average, TiVo has found that its users spend nearly half of their television time watching programs recorded earlier. And viewers of those recorded shows skip about 70 percent of the commercials, said Todd Juenger, TiVo’s vice president for audience research.

More here.

2 Students Accused of Altering Grades in Computer Hacking Case

A L.A. Times article by Stephen Clark, via KTLA TV, reports that:

Two Cal State Northridge students have been accused of hacking into a professor's computer, giving grades to nearly 300 students and sending pizza, magazine subscriptions and CDs to the professor's home.

Lena Chen, 20, of Torrance and Jennifer Ngan, 19, of Alhambra are to be arraigned Aug. 21 on misdemeanor charges of accessing computers illegally and other counts. If convicted, they face up to a year in prison.

According to Cal State police, Chen confessed to getting access to the professor's account by answering a routine security question and changing the password.

More here.

U.S. Sues to Block Missouri Subpoena to AT&T on NSA

A Reuters newswire article, via eWeek, reports that:

The U.S. government, citing national security concerns, Tuesday sued Missouri officials to block their demand that AT&T Inc. disclose whether it gave customer data to the government's spying program.

Missouri Public Service Commissioners Robert Clayton and Steve Gaw, state utility regulators, had served subpoenas to AT&T Missouri and its affiliates in June amid speculation over their involvement with the National Security Agency.

More here.

26 July 1963: World's First Geosynchronous Satellite, Syncom 2, is Launched


1st generation Syncom satellite.
Image source: Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia.

Syncom (for "synchronous communication satellite") started as a 1961 NASA program for active geosynchronous communication satellites, all of which were developed and manufactured by Hughes Space and Communications. Syncom-2 was the world's first geosynchronous communications satellite, in 1963.

In the 1980s, the series was continued as Syncom IV with some much larger satellites, also manufactured by Hughes. They were leased to the United States military under the LEASAT programme.

Syncom 2 was the first geosynchronous communication satellite. Its orbit was inclined rather than geostationary. The satellite was launched by NASA on July 26, 1963 with the Delta B #20 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral. The satellite successfully kept station at the altitude calculated by Herman Potočnik Noordung in the 1920s.

More here.