Saturday, June 02, 2007

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Saturday, June 2, 2007, at least 3,479 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 2,838 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 16 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EDT.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

Toon of the Day: Ready for Real Life

Click for larger image.

For Pornographers, Internet is Now a Curse

Matt Richtel writes in The International Herald Tribune:

The Internet was supposed to be a tremendous boon for the pornography industry, creating a global market of images and videos accessible from the privacy of a home computer. For a time, it worked, with wider distribution and social acceptance driving a steady increase in sales.

But now the established pornography business is in decline - and the Internet is being held responsible.
More here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Toon of the Day: Yes, It's Too Much to Ask

Click for larger image.

Quote of the Day: Cyrus Farivar

"Apple has declined to explain why its new DRM-free music files are watermarked with users' names and e-mail addresses."

- Cyrus Farivar, writing on

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Friday, June 1, 2007, at least 3,478 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 2,838 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 15 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EDT.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

Boeing to Staff FBI Fusion Center

Alice Lipowicz writes on Washington Technology:

To advance information sharing against terrorism, Boeing Co. expects to be among the first major corporations — maybe the first — to assign its own analyst to the Seattle FBI Fusion Center intelligence sharing office, according to a senior Boeing official.

The center is one of dozens around the country created by state and local governments to share anti-terrorism intelligence. Boeing wants to set an example of how private owners of critical infrastructure can get involved in such centers to generate and receive criminal and anti-terrorism intelligence, said Richard Hovel, Boeing senior advisor on aviation and homeland security.

More here.

Happy 27th Birthday, CNN

Born: 18:00 EST, June 1, 1980.

Jessica Cutler Files for Bankruptcy

Jessica Cutler

This is news?

Yes, it is -- when you have a background as a "sex blogger". :-)

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

Jessica Cutler, the former Senate aide whose online sex diary landed her a book deal and a Playboy photo spread but got her kicked off Capitol Hill, has filed for bankruptcy.

Cutler, a former aide to then-Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, created the "Washingtonienne" blog in 2004 and began posting racy details about her sex life with six men, including a Senate colleague and "a few generous older gentlemen" who she said paid many of her living expenses.

When the blog was discovered, Cutler was fired. She moved to New York, wrote a novel based on the scandal, posed naked and started a new Web site that describes herself as "a published author who jumps out of cakes for money."

Under the occupation heading of her Web site, it reads: "I'm freelancing."

More here.

Background information here and here.

Happy 40th Birthday, Sgt. Pepper

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Released on June 1, 1967 in the United Kingdom.

Senate Panel Rejects Dangerous Spying Bill, Demands Details of NSA Program

Via EFF Deep Links.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has affirmatively stated that it will not consider the Bush Administration's dangerous "FISA modernization" surveillance legislation until critical details about the NSA spying program are revealed.

Noting that "the Administration's refusal to satisfy these document requests span over a year," the Intelligence Committee demanded "the President's orders authorizing the warrantless surveillance and the Department of Justice's opinions on the legality of the program."

More here.

Concerns Arise Over Microsoft Research in China into 'Profiling' Internet Uers

Via Reporters sans Frontières.

Reporters Without Borders is worried about a report in the British magazine The New Scientist that a Microsoft laboratory based in China is carrying out research [.pdf] on software that can analyse the behaviour of Internet users with precision and draw up a profile of them (their age, sex, geographic origin and so on). The US software corporation’s aim is get to know its users better in order to deliver targeted advertising.

“The technologies Microsoft is working on would allow it to gather information about Internet users without their knowledge,” the press freedom organisation said. “These technologies could eventually lead to the creation of programmes that could identify ‘subversive’ citizens. This is obviously not Microsoft’s intention. But we believe it is unacceptable to carry out this kind of sensitive research in a country such as China where 50 people are currently in prison because of what they posted online.”

More here.

U.S. Appeals Court Says Internet Phones Must Pay into USF

Via Reuters.

A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld an order by U.S. regulators requiring Internet telephone services like Vonage Holdings Corp. to contribute part of their revenues into a federal subsidy fund.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the Federal Communications Commission was within its authority last year when it issued an order requiring providers of voice-over-Internet protocol, or VOIP, service to pay into the Universal Service Fund.

The fund subsidizes phone service to rural and low-income areas as well as communications services and Internet access for schools, hospitals and libraries.

Vonage had appealed the decision, arguing that the FCC had exceeded its authority and made mistakes in determining how much the company should pay.

More here.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Thursday, May 31, 2007, at least 3,473 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 2,836 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 12 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

Is It Any Wonder That NASA is So Screwed Up?

One of the BEST stories that I've read lately is about how NASA is really screwing up with regards to the research and science mission, their budget, and their focus.

A really, really fine article in Wired by Gregg Easterbrook (that should win him some kind of prize, or a beer, even) is here. A must read. Really.

Now comes news that NASA's Chief Administrator Michael Griffin expressed doubts that global warming was an issue that humans could or should address. More here.

Huh? Science, what?

Not the same NASA that I used to know and love, etc.


- ferg

Image source: Wired

U.S. Awards Second Set of Networx Contracts

Matt Hamblen writes on ComputerWorld:

The federal government awarded the second set of multiyear contracts under the $20 billion Networx program today to five companies that will provide voice, IP, wireless, satellite and IP services to 135 federal agencies.

The awards for the so-called Networx Enterprise program went to AT&T Inc., Level 3 Communications LLC, MCI Communications Services Inc., Qwest Government Services Inc. and Sprint Solutions Inc., according to a statement from the U.S. General Services Administration.

More here.

The Spam Bust That Wasn't

Thank goodness someone said it. :-)

Operationally, this means nothing - the spam keeps coming.

Andy Greenberg writes on

Robert Alan Soloway, the notorious Seattle spam marketer known as the "Spam King," was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on charges that include identity theft, money laundering and mail fraud.

But while spam-fighters are lauding law enforcement's crackdown on one of the world's most prolific offenders, they also argue that the move will have little effect on the growing flood of spam clogging in-boxes.

More here.

EU to Strengthen Surveillance of Terrorist Websites

Helena Spongenberg writes on EU Observer:

The European Union wants to strengthen its monitoring of militant Islamic websites, saying the internet plays a major role in the running and communication network of terrorist organisations.

EU ambassadors gathering for their weekly meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (30 May) decided that a newly established online police portal "needs to be further strengthened" to combat terrorism, according to press reports.

More here.

Cyberthieves Steal $449K From California City Coffers

Todd R. Weiss writes on ComputerWorld:

In a bold move, a thief or thieves stole $449,000 from the city of Carson, Calif., but the eagle-eyed city treasurer noticed the actions and called police.

The incidents occurred last Wednesday and Thursday, when City Treasurer Karen Avilla noticed that $90,500 was transferred out of the city's general fund bank account to an unknown recipient, according to police reports filed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Avilla hadn't made or authorized the transfer, so she contacted officials at City National Bank in Beverly Hills, who told her that the money had been transferred to a person named Deado Smith using BT&T North Carolina Bank.

The second unauthorized transaction, for $358,500, was made the next day, when a transfer was made to a company called Broadbase Financial using National City Bank, according to the sheriff's department report. Again, Avilla said she did not authorize or make the transfer.

Avilla said today that she discovered both illegal transfers when she made her daily inspections of the city's bank account balances online.

More here.

U.S. Soldiers in South Korea Face Tough VoIP Call

John Blau writes on InfoWorld:

American soldiers in South Korea face a tough call on using Internet telephony in the country.

Thursday was the last day the U.S. military community in South Korea could make VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) calls through companies based in the U.S., such as Vonage and Lingo, according to a report Thursday in Stars & Stripes, a U.S. Department of Defense authorized newspaper. Beginning Friday, all new contracts must be made with South Korean VOIP providers, the report said.

For service members used to making and receiving calls to and from the U.S. for as low as $15 a month, the move to a South Korean provider -- and a local phone number -- could ring up a pricey phone bill.

More here.

Baghdad Embassy Plans Turn Up Online

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

Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared online Thursday in a breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project.

Computer-generated projections of the soon-to-be completed, heavily fortified compound were posted on the Web site of the Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital.

The images were removed by Berger Devine Yaeger Inc. shortly after the company was contacted by the State Department.

"We work very hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees overseas," said Gonzalo Gallegos, a department spokesman. "This kind of information out in the public domain detracts from that effort."

The 10 images included a scheme of the overall layout of the compound, plus depictions of individual buildings including the embassy itself, office annexes, the Marine Corps security post, swimming pool, recreation center and the ambassador's and deputy ambassador's residences.

More here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quote of the Day: Bruce Schneier (Again)

"Lions don't care who or what they eat; to a lion, you're just a conveniently packaged bag of protein."

- Bruce Schneier, in yet another well thought-out commentary on Wired's "Security Matters".

AP to Use Copyright-Protection Service

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

The Associated Press will intensify its efforts to protect its copyrights on the Web and possibly uncover new sources of revenue by working with a Silicon Valley startup that's trying to help the media gain more control over digital content.

Under an agreement to be announced Thursday, the AP will subscribe to a service developed by Attributor Corp. to track how its stories are distributed across thousands of Web sites. The monitoring tools eventually will be expanded so the news cooperative will be able to keep tabs on the use of its photos and videos on the Internet, too.

Although precise terms aren't being disclosed, the AP's fees will depend largely on how heavily it relies on Attributor's service.

More here.

Note: Somehow, this sounds like trouble -- or at least an opportunity to be somewhat abusive in copyright protection.

The Associated Press should understand, as many other news outlets have come to understand, that blogs especially drive more traffic towards their outlets when an acceptable use allowance is granted to use a few leading paragraphs to capture the nature of the news, then drive it towards their news outlet.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

- ferg

Gapingvoid: Silicon Valley Explained

Via Enjoy!

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Wednesday, May 30, 2007, at least 3,467 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 2,834 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

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

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

ChoicePoint Subsidiary Rolls Out License Plate Tracking System in UK

Luke O'Brien writes on Threat Level:

Giant American data peddler ChoicePoint last week unveiled a new system in the United Kingdom for analyzing the thousands of license plate numbers collected by automated cameras nestled surreptitiously throughout the English heather.

Called the "analyst's workstation" and designed by i2, a ChoicePoint-owned company, the system interfaces with three major databases and uses license plate information to help cops bust bad guys.

More here.

A New Low in ID Theft: Targeting Military Families

Luis Martinez and Maddy Sauer report on ABC News' "The Blotter":

There is a new and extremely cruel identity theft scam targeting military families, the American Red Cross warned today.

In this shocking case, a military spouse answered the phone and was told her husband had been injured in Iraq and med-evacuated to a hospital in Germany. The caller told the woman her husband's treatment could not proceed until further paperwork was received, which included verifying his social security number and date of birth. Fortunately, the woman became suspicious and did not provide the information.

More here.

Apple Hides Account Info in DRM-Free Music, Too

Ken Fisher writes on ARS Technica:

With great power comes great responsibility, and apparently with DRM-free music comes files embedded with identifying information. Such is the situation with Apple's new DRM-free music: songs sold without DRM still have a user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them, which means that dropping that new DRM-free song on your favorite P2P network could come back to bite you.

We started examining the files this morning and noticed our names and e-mail addresses in the files, and we've found corroboration of the find at TUAW, as well. But there's more to the story: Apple embeds your account information in all songs sold on the store, not just DRM-free songs. Previously it wasn't much of a big deal, since no one could imagine users sharing encrypted, DRMed content. But now that DRM-free music from Apple is on the loose, the hidden data is more significant since it could theoretically be used to trace shared tunes back to the original owner. It must also be kept in mind that this kind of information could be spoofed.

More here.

Tiscali e-Mail 'Hit' by Spammers

Via The BBC.

Spammers have knocked out the e-mail service for many of the customers of internet service provider (ISP) Tiscali, the firm has said.

Users e-mails have not been delivered to their intended recipients as other ISPs block e-mail traffic from Tiscali.

Tiscali has not said how many of its 1.8m UK customers are affected by the outage which started eight days ago.

It said engineers were "taking urgent action" to block spammers using its e-mail service to send messages.

A statement on the Tiscali website read: "We have been targeted by spammers using our service, which in turn has meant other ISPs have taken measures to block mail sent by Tiscali. This is not affecting all delivery addresses. Some mail continues to be delivered as normal."

More here.

Feds: Notorious Seattle Spammer Indicted

Colin McDonald writes in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Federal authorities are accusing a Seattle man of not only sending out millions of spam messages himself, but selling the software for others to do the same and stealing unique e-mail addresses and domain names to further his operation.

Robert Alan Soloway, 27, of Seattle will make his initial appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle on 13 counts of money laundering, 10 counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft and two counts of fraud in connection with electronic mail.

More here.

Website Error Rocks Global Oil Markets

Via Reuters.

World oil prices jumped briefly on Wednesday after a television station in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- the No. 62 U.S. media market -- posted an erroneous story about a refinery fire on its Web site.

At 10:14 EDT (1414 GMT), CBS affiliate KOTV reported that a lightning strike had caused a fire at an Oklahoma refinery -- sparking a flurry of excitement among energy traders and boosting U.S. crude prices 40 cents.

The refining company announced the story was "completely wrong" and the station withdrew the story.

"All it takes is a screw-up on a Web site to move the market. It just goes to show how tense this market is," said a Houston-based oil trader.

More here.

Programming Note

Blogging will be light this morning through early afternoon -- I have a meeting up in San Francisco and will be offline for a little while.


- ferg

CBS Buys for $280 Million Cash

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

CBS Corp. said Wednesday it is buying, a music-focused online social network, for $280 million in cash in a bid to attract younger viewers and listeners across its businesses. management, including founders Felix Miller, Martin Stiksel and Richard Jones, will continue to run the company independently, CBS said in a statement.

The acquisition follows CBS Interactive's recent purchase of, an online financial news site, and investments in the online video site Joost and other online companies.

More here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Toon of the Day: Petrol Contrasts

Click for larger image.

(Thanks, Paul!)

U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via The Boston Globe (AP).

As of Tuesday, May 29, 2007, at least 3,466 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 2,826 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 16 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

Wired: Which ISPs Are Spying on You?

Ryan Singel writes on Wired News:

The few souls that attempt to read and understand website privacy policies know they are almost universally unintelligible and shot through with clever loopholes. But one of the most important policies to know is your internet service provider's -- the company that ferries all your traffic to and from the internet, from search queries to BitTorrent uploads, flirty IMs to porn.

Wired News, with help from some readers, attempted to get real answers from the largest United States-based ISPs about what information they gather on their customers' use of the internet, and how long they retain records like IP addresses, e-mail and real-time browsing activity. Most importantly, we asked what they require from law-enforcement agencies before coughing up the data, and whether they sell your data to marketers.

Only four of the eight largest ISPs responded to the 10-question survey, despite being contacted repeatedly over the course of two months. Some ISPs wouldn't talk to us, but gave answers to customers responding to a call for reader help on Wired's Threat Level blog.

More here.

U.S. Air Force Examines its Vulnerability to Cyber Attack

Sebastian Sprenger writes on

Air Force officials have kicked off a study examining the service’s vulnerability to electronic attacks on critical network infrastructure and systems, as service officials continue planning for a major Air Force command dedicated to waging war in cyberspace.

Last month, service leaders assigned the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board to assess the risk of potential cyberwarfare scenarios and determine their effect on Air Force systems and operations, according to the April 19 terms of reference for the study.

More here.

Off Beat: Terrorism Not Focus of Homeland Security

Scott Bronstein writes on

Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an independent research group.

This comes despite the fact the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that fighting terrorism is the central mission of DHS.

The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse said it analyzed millions of previously undisclosed records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act.

Of the 814,073 people charged by DHS in immigration courts during the past three years, 12 faced charges of terrorism, TRAC said.

Those 12 cases represent 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed.

More here.

ESA: Radio 'Screams' From the Sun Warn of Radiation Storms

Via ESA News.

ESA’s SOHO has helped uncover radio screams that foretell dangerous Coronal Mass Ejections, or CMEs, which produce radiation storms harming infrastructure on ground, in space as well as humans in space.

Scientists made the connection by analyzing observations of CMEs from ESA/NASA’s SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) and NASA’s Wind spacecraft. The team includes researchers from Goddard, the Catholic University of America, Washington, the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, and the Observatory of Paris.

A CME is a solar slam to our high-tech civilization. It begins when the sun launches a thousand million tons of electrically conducting gas (plasma) into space at millions of kilometres per hour.

A CME cloud is laced with magnetic fields and when directed our way, smashes into Earth's magnetic field. If the magnetic fields have the correct orientation, they dump energy into Earth's magnetic field, causing magnetic storms. These storms can cause widespread blackouts by overloading power line equipment with extra electric current.

More here.

Phishing URLs Skyrocket

Gregg Keizer writes on ComputerWorld:

The number of phishing Web URLs nearly tripled from March to April, a security group said, as cybercriminals returned to a late-2006 tactic designed to do an end run around browser-based antiphishing filters.

In one month, the number of unique sites soared 166%, from 20,871 in March to 55,643 in April, said the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), an association of more than 1,600 companies and government agencies.

"They're trying to overwhelm the filtering mechanisms" in browsers and antiphishing toolbars, said Peter Cassidy, the secretary general of the APWG, "by using many, many URLs, some which may resolve to the very same phishing site."

Phishers using the tactic don't register any more domains than usual but simply craft unique URLs by randomizing the subdomain to create new addresses.

More here.

Free Puppies? It's Another Scam

David Colker writes in The Los Angeles Times:

And now for the latest scam from Nigeria — puppies.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus Inc. and the American Kennel Club today plan to issue a warning about fraudulent websites, MySpace postings and print ads asking people to help save puppies who are in desperate straits.

The sites and ads usually show adorable puppies that somehow have become stuck in Nigeria or other countries, and are offered free to new owners. A variation is to offer the puppies, such as purebred English bulldogs — a particularly expensive breed — at vastly discounted prices.

But free or not, people who had responded to the ads eventually were asked to send hundreds of dollars to cover such costs as shipping, customs, taxes and inoculations on an ever-escalating scale.

Some reported paying fees totaling more than $1,500.

"It's like the Nigerian advance-fee scams we've been seeing for years, except with the face of a puppy," said Steve Cox, a council vice president.

More here.

Cyber-Spies Tracking Terror on Web

Dana Rosenblatt writes on

There is an unconventional war being waged on the Internet. The battles here know no boundaries; and are fought from homes and offices from small Midwestern towns to Europe and the Middle East.

For the fighters in these battles weapons usually consist of no more than collected intelligence and computer programming skills.

It's no secret anymore that active terrorist cells are currently operating freely and openly on the Internet, using propaganda tactics to illicit prospective recruits.

The emergence of these terrorist groups has spawned their nemesis: groups of researchers, hackers, and maverick computer geeks who cyber-stalk terrorist networks online and take them down.

More here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Avaya: For Sale?

Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. de la Merced write in The New York Times:

The telecommunications company Avaya is in negotiations to sell a part or all of itself, in what may be the latest round of deal making in its industry, executives briefed on the negotiations said last night.

The company, based in Basking Ridge, N.J. and valued at $6.1 billion, has retained the investment bank Credit Suisse as an adviser, the executives said. Among those interested are two rivals — Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks — and the equity buyout firm Silver Lake Partners.

The executives cautioned last night that negotiations were in the early stage and that the company could still remain independent.

A spokeswoman for Avaya did not return a telephone call or an e-mail message seeking a comment.

More here.

Memorial Day 2007: U.S. Toll in Iraq

Via (AP).

As of Monday, May 28, 2007, at least 3,452 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 2,809 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

The AP count is 19 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EDT.

More here.

And as always, keeps a very, very extensive list here, as does the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website here.

War Fears Turn to Cyberspace in Estonia

Mark Landler and John Markoff write in The New York Times:

When Estonian authorities began removing a bronze statue of a World War II-era Soviet soldier from a park in this bustling Baltic seaport last month, they expected violent street protests by Estonians of Russian descent.

They also knew from experience that “if there are fights on the street, there are going to be fights on the Internet,” said Hillar Aarelaid, the director of Estonia’s Computer Emergency Response Team. After all, for people here the Internet is almost as vital as running water; it is used routinely to vote, file their taxes, and, with their cellphones, to shop or pay for parking.

What followed was what some here describe as the first war in cyberspace, a monthlong campaign that has forced Estonian authorities to defend their pint-size Baltic nation from a data flood that they say was set off by orders from Russia or ethnic Russian sources in retaliation for the removal of the statue.

More here.

FTC to Investigate Google-DoubleClick Acquisition

Steve Lohr writes in The New York Times:

The Federal Trade Commission has opened a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google’s planned $3.1 billion purchase of the online advertising company DoubleClick, an industry executive briefed on the agency’s plans said yesterday.

The inquiry began at the end of last week, after it was decided that the Federal Trade Commission instead of the Justice Department would conduct the review, said the executive, who asked not to be identified because he had not been authorized to speak. The two agencies split the duties of antitrust enforcement.

An F.T.C. spokesman said yesterday that the agency did not comment on pending inquiries.

More here.

Computer Glitch Tangles Japanese Flights

Martyn Williams writes on PC World:

Hundreds of domestic flights in Japan were cancelled or delayed on Sunday as a result of a glitch in the computer system of All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd.

The problem hit data flowing between the airline's main reservations host computer and intermediate computers that handled downstream connections to terminals in airports, said Rob Henderson, a spokesman for ANA. The airline has the largest share of Japan's domestic air market.

Information flow between the intermediate computers and host computer was slowed by the glitch leading to a backlog of data that eventually clogged the system. The slowdown, which meant data was coming in several times slower than normal, eventually caused 130 cancellations and delays of more than an hour for 306 flights. Around 69,300 passengers were affected, said Henderson.

More here.

China Crafting Cyberweapons?

Sumner Lemon writes on PC World:

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) continues to build cyberwarfare units and develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems as part of its information-warfare strategy, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) warned in a report released on Friday.

"The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks," the annual DOD report [.pdf] on China's military warned. At the same, Chinese armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years.

These capabilities are part of China's ongoing military modernization efforts, which have seen the country add dozens of high-tech fighters and ballistic missiles to its arsenal. China isn't alone in building the capability to attack an enemy's computer systems. The U.S. and other countries have developed similar abilities.

More here.

Memorial Day Remembrance

You are not forgotten.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Quote of the Day: Captain Benjamin L. Willard

"Charlie didn't get much USO. He was dug in too deep or moving too fast. His idea of great R&R was cold rice and a little rat meat. He had only two ways home: death, or victory."

- Captain Benjamin L. Willard (played by Martin Sheen) in "Apocalypse Now".

Off Topic: Another Great Movie: V For Vendetta

Long weekends are great for good movies.

Here's another one that I almost forgot about... based on the DC Comic classic.

There's a message in there somewhere... ya think?

- ferg

Australia: Scammers Abuse 'Do Not Call' Angle

Stuart Corner writes on

Australia's criminal fraternity is nothing if not ingenious: scammers have seized on the publicity surrounding the new Do-Not-Call register to try and extract money from citizens to have their name listed in the register.

...Communications minister, senator Helen Coonan, has issued a statement warning consumers about scams where people were door-knockers are offering to list a person's number on the Do Not Call Register, for a fee. "I am aware that the Australian Communications and Media Authority have received reports of scammers charging as much as $79 to sign people up to the service," she said.

More here.

In Passing: Charles Nelson Reilly

Charles Nelson Reilly
January 13, 1931–May 27, 2007

Off Beat: Fergie's Tech Blog #1 on Google for Memorial Day Search

Click for larger image.

Don't ask me how it happened -- I was just as surprised as anyone.

But for some odd reason, my blog post on Friday somehow pops up at the top of the listings on Google when you search for "Memorial Day Blog".

Saturday and Sunday's posts for Memorial Day are here and here, respectively.

Keep your eye on this spot for tomorrow's Memorial Day post.

Which is good, I suppose, but let me say that -- as a veteran -- my only thoughts this holiday weekend are for the men & women who are in harms way fighting for this country, regardless of my politics.

And my thoughts are with the families of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

Alabama Terror Web Site Angers Activists

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

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has taken down a Web site it operated that included gay rights and anti-war organizations in a list of groups that could include terrorists.

The Web site identified different types of terrorists, and included a list of groups it believed could spawn terrorists. The list also included environmentalists, animal rights advocates and abortion opponents.

The director of the department, Jim Walker, said his agency received a number of calls and e-mails from people who said they felt the site unfairly targeted certain people just because of their beliefs. He said he plans to put the Web site back on the Internet, but will no longer identify specific types of groups.

More here.

EU: Tyco Fined for Overseas Transfers of Personal Data


The French data protection authority has fined a subsidiary of US firm Tyco Healthcare over the transfer of employee information across borders and inadequate data safeguards. Tyco Healthcare France was fined €30,000.

It is believed to be the first time that a US-based multinational has been fined for unauthorised overseas transfers of personal data.

La Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) has imposed the fine after discovering that Tyco's human resources database was using personally identifiable information more extensively than the company had admitted.

Tyco notified CNIL in 2004 that it was operating a human resources database containing personal information, as required by French law.

When at a later date CNIL requested further information from the company, Tyco said that it had stopped using the database. An inspection in 2006 by CNIL found that not only was the database active, but that it was being used more extensively than the company had indicated.

More here.

China Suspends High-Speed MagLev Train Project

A Reuters newswire article, via The New York Times, reports that:

China has suspended a planned magnetic levitation rail route linking Shanghai and Hangzhou, partly because of residents’ concerns that the trains would emit radiation, state media reported Saturday.

Shanghai’s talks with German suppliers, including Siemens, to extend the high-speed line to neighboring Hangzhou were already complicated by recent accidents involving maglev trains and by cost concerns.

The Xinhua news agency said thousands of residents living on the proposed route had been petitioning for a suspension of the $4.5 billion project, fearing the high-speed trains would produce radiation.

More here.

Image source: Xinhua

Happy 70th Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrians 70 years ago today -- at 6 a.m. on May 27, 1937.

Happy 70th Birthday, American Icon.

Memorial Day Remembrances: You Are Not Forgotten

You Are Not Forgotten.

Multiple Police Raids Take Down BitTorrent Tracker

Via TorrentFreak:

This week, police carried out co-ordinated raids targeting more than 10 locations in Germany following claims from the GVU (German Federation Against Copyright Theft) that movies and software were being traded, including a computer game that had been distributed in advance of its official market release date.

The searches carried out at Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Saxonia-Anhalt and Thuringia yielded a 38 year old man already known to the authorities, who is now under suspicion of being the administrator of the tracker. At this point, the tracker name cannot be confirmed.

It was reported that the suspects maintained servers with large storage capacities and fast upload speeds. Computer systems and large amounts of data were seized during the searches.

More here.