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Author Topic: Tech News Weekly: Edition 25-09  (Read 3771 times)


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Tech News Weekly: Edition 25-09
« on: June 21, 2009, 05:15 AM »
The Weekly Tech News
TNWeekly01.gifHi all.
Be sure to watch the vid guys, whether you're a jock or a nerd ;)
As usual, you can find last week's news here.

1. Canadian Bill Forces Personal Data from ISPs Sans Warrant
A bill has been put forth in Canada's Parliament that would, among other things, require ISPs to turn over personal information of subscribers without a warrant.

Canada is considering legislation allowing the country's police and national security agency to readily access the online communications and the personal information of ISP subscribers.

"We must ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools to catch up to the bad guys and ultimately bring them to justice. Twenty-first century technology calls for 21st-century tools," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in announcing two new bills at a press conference in Ottawa, the CBC has reported.

The Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century Act would require ISPs to install "intercept-capable" equipment on their networks and provide police with "timely access" to subscribers' personal information, including names, street addresses, and IP addresses.

2. Thomas Verdict: Willful Infringement, $1.92 Million Penalty
Jammie Thomas-Rasset has received a guilty verdict in the first filesharing lawsuit to go to trial in the United States. The damages are calculated at $80,000 per infringement.

A new lawyer, a new jury, and a new trial were not enough to save Jammie Thomas-Rasset. In a repeat of the verdict from her first federal trial, Thomas-Rasset was found liable for willfully infringing all 24 copyrights controlled by the four major record labels at issue in the case. The jury awarded the labels damages totaling a whopping $1.92 million. As the dollar amount was read in court, Thomas-Rasset gasped and her eyes widened.

Kiwi Camara, Thomas-Rasset's lead attorney, spoke briefly after the trial. He told reporters that when he first heard the $80,000 per song damage award, he was "angry about it" and said he had been convinced that any liability finding would have been for the minimum amount of $750 per song.

3. ISP, UMG Agree On Unlimited Music Plan, Graduated Response
A UK ISP has announced it will be offering subscribers unlimited, DRM-free downloads of Universal Music's entire catalog. However, it will also be instituting a graduated response plan for those who pirate music on its network.

Universal Music Group has entered into a deal with Virgin Media to offer an unlimited music download subscription service to Virgin's broadband customers in the UK. You read that right—this is a subscription service that lets you download unprotected MP3s that you can keep forever, even after you cancel your subscription. The idea is to lure customers away from pirating music over P2P networks by letting them download legal music to their heart's content, though Virgin is still planning to adopt a system to deal with pirates.

The two companies described the deal as the "world's first" unlimited download subscription service, and said that Virgin Media broadband customers will be able to stream and download as many tracks and albums as they want from Universal's extensive catalog. There will, of course, be a monthly fee (that neither company has chosen to disclose at the time of this writing), but customers will be able to keep their music forever once it's downloaded. There will also be an "entry level" tier for customers who still want in on the action but don't want or need unlimited music.

4. Congressman Has Bill Ready to Give FTC Veto On ISP Data Caps
Congressman Eric Massa, representative of Rochester, NY (the district where Time Warner conducted its bandwidth cap testing) has readied a Bill that would see the FCC play judge and jury on whether or not ISPs can cap their customers' bandwidth.

Congressman Eric Massa represents a district in western New York that's exquisitely sensitive to the current US broadband market. On the phone side, the area, which includes the city of Rochester, is served by Frontier Communications, which shows no indication that it will follow Verizon in offering fiber to the home, while its DSL terms of service suggest that 5GB per month is appropriate usage. On the cable side of the service duopoly, Time Warner used the area as a test market for its brief flirtation with widespread usage caps. At the time, Massa promised to respond to his constituents' outrage by introducing legislation that would regulate the imposition of usage caps; that bill is now ready. It would treat ISPs like utilities, and put the Federal Trade Commission in the role of Public Utilities Commission, ensuring that the service providers had an economic case for imposing usage-based fees.

In making the case for regulation, the bill brings together a few strands of thought that are becoming increasingly common in discussions of the role of government in fostering the development of the Internet. In short, the Internet has become essential for a variety of basic functions—the bill specifically mentions its use for "agricultural, medical, educational, environmental, library, and nonprofit purposes"—making access part of the basic infrastructure. There's also an economic case to be made for broadband, since it allows more sophisticated services and commerce to take place online.

5. City to Job Applicants: Facebook, MySpace Log-ins Please
The city of Bozeman, Montana has found a new way of bypassing private social networking profiles for those seeking jobs with them: demand usernames and passwords from your applicants.

One of the things people tend to forget when posting pictures and personal information online is that a lot of it is only a short Internet search away from their current or potential employers (not to mention their parents). It has now become standard procedure for many employers to sit down with Google and cyberstalk potential employees, while the more savvy hunt down Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds. The city of Bozeman Montana, however, has decided that all of that is too much work—it's now requesting that potential employees hand over the login credentials for any social networking sites they frequent.

Background checks are standard procedure for many jobs, as it allows employers to identify problematic legal histories and things of that nature. Bozeman is no exception, as it uses a waiver form to obtain an applicant's consent to use their Social Security and driver's license numbers to dig into their past. But the form is notable in that about a third of area that needs to be filled out by an applicant is devoted to website information.

6. Researchers Build Anonymous, Browser-Based 'Darknet'
A presentation at the next Blackhat conference will show how a Darknet (similar to TOR or FreeNet) can be built using only distributed web servers and an HTML5-capable browser.

A pair of researchers has discovered a way to use modern browsers to more easily build darknets -- those underground, private Internet communities where users can share content and ideas securely and anonymously.

Billy Hoffman, manager for HP Security Labs at HP Software, and Matt Wood, senior security researcher in HP's Web Security Research Group, will demonstrate a proof-of-concept for Veiled, a new type of darknet, at the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas next month. Darknets, themselves, are nothing new; networks like Tor, FreeNet, and Gnutella are well-established. The HP researchers say Veiled is the same idea, only much simpler: It doesn't require any software to participate, just an HTML 5-based browser. "We've implemented a simple, new darknet in the browser," Wood says. "There are no supporting [software] programs."

7. Hacker Cracks TinyURL Rival, Redirects Millions of Twitter Users
URL shortening service Cligs was compromised, redirecting millions of users to Kevin Saban's social networking blog. 93% of the effected links have been restored, but the rest were not backed up and will be made editable by their creators, or pointed at the Cligs website.

A URL-shortening service that condenses long Web addresses for use on micro-blogging sites like Twitter was hacked over the weekend, sending millions of users to an unintended destination, a security researcher said today.

After Cligs, a rival to the better known TinyURL and shortening services, was attacked Sunday, more than 2.2 million Web addresses were redirected to Kevin Saban's blog, which appears on the Orange County Register's Web site. Noticing a dramatic upswing in traffic, Saban -- who uses Cligs in his Twitter messages to shorten URLs -- contacted Pierre Far, the creator of Cligs.

8. Microsoft Lawsuit Takes Aim at Click Fraud
Microsoft has filed a $750,000 lawsuit against a group accused of engaging in clickfraud against Microsoft's online advertising platform.

Microsoft has fired a warning shot at online advertising fraudsters with a $750,000 lawsuit against three individuals who allegedly directly bilked advertisers and indirectly deprived Microsoft of potential online advertising revenue through click fraud.

In a June 15 blog post, Tim Cranton, associate general counsel at Microsoft, said the click fraud attacks occurred on online advertisements related to auto insurance and the World of Warcraft online role-playing game.

In his post, Cranton said: "Earlier today, after a thorough investigation, Microsoft filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington outlining a massive click fraud scheme believed to have impacted Microsoft’s advertising platform and potentially other networks. The case is Microsoft v. Lam, et. al., case number 09-cv-0815."

9. Triumph of the Nerds
John Hodgman Roasts President Obama over his alleged geekyness.




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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 25-09
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2009, 09:58 AM »
except for the term "darknet" which sounds like it was taken from an old cyberpunk novel, I liked the idea of it very much.