White House To Appoint “Internet Czar” SlashDot
“The White House reports that President Obama is set to appoint a ‘Cybersecurity czar with a broad mandate’: ‘The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final.
It’s ‘rat out your boss’ week in Blighty The Inquirer
Workers in the UK are being asked turn in their employers to a software industry group for using unlicenced software. The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has announced a campaign to encourage ‘employee whistleblowing’ at companies that install software illegally, that is, without paying for it. FAST says its programme has already gained interest with over 500 online inquiries having been logged last month.
Cuba’s cyberwar intensifies Associated Press
Cuban bloggers are fighting a cyberwar with the government to give their own version of reality on the communist island, from hotels and using memory sticks and laptops obtained from abroad. Havana accuses them of being on the payroll of Washington and other governments in a bid to denigrate the 50-year-old Cuban revolution. The government argues that it has the right to block sites which “encourage subversion.” “They want to push us into illegality, to ‘underground’ accounts. They accuse us buying domains outside of Cuba, but us Cubans cannot buy a ‘.cu’ domain. What do they want, silence?” said Sanchez, winner of the 2008 Spanish Ortega and Gasset prize for digital journalism.
This is Not a Sponsored Post: Paid Conversations, Credibility & The FTC TechCrunch
In the eyes of imaginative and opportunistic advertisers and marketers, bloggers and online influencers are the new celebrities and athletes. Brands are showering them with endorsement deals rich with products, cash, trips, exclusive access to information, and VIP treatment each and every day, creating a new genre of star spokespersons. Many expert and lifestyle citizen bloggers and online weblebrities are creating communities around their personas as they freely and actively share personal and identifiable experiences online, in social networks and also in the real world. Those who can successfully connect their stories to others in and around their peer groups earn trust, visibility and authority – limited only by ambition and ingenuity. They`re rewarded for their presence and ability to point their followers in strategic directions. These new brand ambassadors are almost the perfect instruments for surreptitiously sparking and cultivating a groundswell of desire within desired target markets. Consumers look to experts and trusted peers for guidance and insight when making decisions. But who`s to say that the information they`re receiving from their trusted sources is indeed truthful and honest? Many of these followers are blind to the fact that some of these authorities are actually directly or indirectly compensated for their opinions and insights.
Iranian moderate candidate criticizes Facebook ban Reuters
A moderate challenger to hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the authorities on Monday for blocking access to the Facebook social networking site ahead of the June 12 presidential election. With the Internet playing a mounting role in political debate, authorities have curbed access to political, human rights and news websites, and blocked Facebook on Saturday. Former parliament speaker Mehdi Karoubi said websites should be tolerated at “such a sensitive political period.” “It (Facebook) was filtered by the authorities because of moral issues. But filtering Facebook just days before the election was wrong,” Karoubi told a news conference. Reformists say by blocking websites the government wants to force Iranians to rely on the state-run media, which they accuse of giving biased coverage in favor of Ahmadinejad.
Facebooking the Pope Reuters
Just when you thought you had enough Facebook Friends, devout followers of the Vatican can soon add the Pope as a friend.
Aussie Broadband prices to fall thanks to new pipe News AU
Local broadband prices could be halved thanks to a massive internet cable linking Australia’s eastern seaboard to the rest of the world. Pipe Networks` first international broadband cable, dubbed PPC-1, landed in Sydney last week. The $200 million cable, stretching 4787km, runs from Collaroy on Sydney’s north shore to Guam and then branches off into other major countries. The PPC-1 is the first international internet cable to be owned independently of the country’s big telcos. Once completed, the pipe is set to increase the size of Australia’s international link by almost 50 per cent, and send internet prices tumbling. Mr Slattery said he was threatened by one of Australia’s big four carriers over plans to build the cable. “I think in about July or August of last year I received a disturbing phone call,” he said at the cable landing in Collaroy last week. “I think I was personally threatened by a tier one, which was quite a remarkable stance.” Current Australian tier one carriers include Telstra, Optus, AAPT and Verizon Business. [Comment: Refer Below for the threatening phone calls]
Pipe dream coming true for net users – Threats to others Australian IT
The voyage is widely viewed by the country’s second-tier internet providers as the final leg of a journey that began two years ago when Pipe International’s holding company, Pipe Networks, set out to break a stranglehold on Australia’s international bandwidth market. That journey has been an arduous one for Pipe Networks chief executive Bevan Slattery. He led an eleventh-hour rescue when the global financial crisis threatened to sink the project late last year and he has personally borne the brunt of threats and abuse from within the ranks of a major carrier for what it viewed as an attempt to rock what has, for the incumbents, been a comfortable boat. The personal abuse was delivered in a drunken phone call late last year. He attributed the vitriol in part to frustration that the project was still rolling ahead, and in part to alcohol. “I think their term was that they threatened to ‘cut us off at the knees’ and ‘make us their special project’. So it was a pretty interesting phone call,” Mr Slattery said. “I think he was drunk.”
Twitter is migrating from computer to TV screens CBC
The micro-blogging website will partner with Reveille and Brillstein Entertainment to produce an unscripted television series, a project that was announced Monday with few details. Based on the website Twitter, content for the show will come from the site’s 140-character “tweets,” updates that answer the perpetual question, “What are you doing?” Producers call the upcoming series the first to bring the immediacy of Twitter to television. The show’s contestants are “ordinary people put on the trail of celebrities in a competitive format,” said a joint release from Reveille and Brillstein. The show appears to be a reality-TV series, though no further details were given.
Will Twitter soon feature in a TV show? p2pnet
Thats The Word. But The Word is Wrong, says Twitter.
Canada’s Civil Liberties Watchdog fights at the Supreme Court to establish protections for journalists` confidential sources CCLA
The CCLA appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on May 22, arguing that police search warrants and assistance orders that would force reporters to disclose information that could reveal the identity of confidential sources violate of freedom of the media, guaranteed under section 2(b) of the Charter. Appearing on behalf of the CCLA, special counsel Jamie Cameron (Osgoode Hall Law School), Matthew Milne-Smith and John McCamus (Davies Ward Philips & Vineberg) argued that a free and vigorous press plays a vital role in democratic self-government, and that government measures that prevent media from gathering information constitute a restriction on freedom of the press. Access to news sources, CCLA stated, is a key element of the newsgathering function, and it is in the public interest that the press have access to sources that enable timely reporting and commentary on public institutions and events. It is CCLA`s position that orders that effectively requires a journalist to disclose the identity of a confidential source threatens the integrity of this relationship between journalists and their sources. Although such intrusions may under some circumstances be warranted, CCLA believes that the government should have to show that such an invasion is justified. Democracy depends on eye-opening reporting, and the state should have to demonstrate that its interest in accessing an unnamed source is greater than the public interest in protecting the relationship between journalists and their confidential sources.
New Internet law mere scrap of paper China Daily
The country’s first law that demands netizens reveal their real names when online is not being policed almost one month after its implementation. The Hangzhou municipal government in Zhejiang province has required Internet portals under its administration to ask for the real identity of their users from May 1. The law is designed to protect national security, social order and the social moral system. However, nearly one month after enactment, netizens can still post opinions on most of the city’s popular bulletin boards without registering their personal details. Li added: “Netizens already know that even if they don’t use their real names, they could still be tracked through their IP address by authorities. The regulation has only angered them by making that point explicit.”
Patients gain right to scrub e-records from NHS database The Register
Forceps, scalpel, data deletion tool… NHS patients will be given the ability to scrub electronic records of their treatments and medical conditions from a proposed national medical database. The concession to patient privacy and data protection follows negotiations between health service officials and data protection watchdogs at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), The Guardian reports. Patients – who already had the right to opt out of the scheme – now have the right to have their medical records deleted instead of simply masked once they are put onto the system.
Red Hat sticks lawyers on non-neutral Switzerland The Register
There’s no real alternative to Microsoft – Red Hat is heading an appeal against a Swiss government agency`s award of a contract handed to Microsoft without any public bidding. The Linux software vendor said late last week that it was joining 17 other tech firms in disputing the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics` decision. The agency gave Microsoft the three-year contract – worth 14 million Swiss Francs (£8.1m) per year – without seeking any other bidders. The challenge raises important issues of openness in government and of a level playing field for open source and other competitors of Microsoft, said the Red Hat legal team in a blog post. Red Hat is seeking a public bidding process that allows for consideration of the technical and commercial advantages of open source software products. The Swiss agency justified the no-bid procurement procedure because it could not find a sufficient alternative to Microsoft`s software, according to Red Hat.
Microsoft fiddling with netbook licences The Inquirer
Infoworld claims that Microsoft is up to no good with its requirements to run Windows 7 on netbooks. The magazine says that the Vole has muddied the netbook hardware waters by setting “maximum hardware requirements” for netbooks running Windows XP Home. Things are likely to get worse with Windows 7 as the Vole has decreased the screen size of what it will consider being a netbook from 12.1 inches to 10.2 inches. On the other hand, it has increased its permitted netbook storage capacity from a 32GB solid-state drive or a 160GB hard disk drive to a 64GB SSD or a 250GB HDD. It has also lifted previous restrictions on touch and other Windows 7 stuff. The change means that hardware vendors are going to have to make sure that their mini-notebook gear fits within Microsoft’s restrictions so they can qualify for the cut-price netbook edition of Windows 7…. The middle market for netbooks effectively will have been eliminated and Steve Ballmer will laugh all the way to the bank.
Track that cheating spouse of yours The Inquirer
Betrayal a pretty common affair on the Internet. Many a household has lost its members to the charms of instant messaging, photo swapping, Internet dating, live cam action and so on… it’s too long a list to quote here, really. But, technology cuts both ways, and devices like this one we found on a Spanish site – the Wintec Easy Showily (sic) – advertised as the “GPS Infidelity Locator” combines the power of Google Maps with all the paranoia of an insecure geek. It’s a simple device that keeps a log of the GPS co-ordinates polled at intervals. It plugs into the USB port of a PC and uploads everything to Google Maps. If you’re (un)lucky enough you might even catch your spouse and their lover on Streetview.
Telstra boss blames Australia for resignation The Inquirer
Former Telstra chief Sol Trujillo who recently quit the giant Aussie telco has taken a swipe at the former UK penal colony that he used to call home as “racist and backward”. He said his four years in Australia were like “stepping back in time”. Speaking to the Beeb, Trujillo said that racism was evident all the time.
Sony CEO Proposes “Guardrails For the Internet” SlashDot
“Micheal Lynton, the guy who said ‘I’m a guy who doesn’t see anything good having come from the Internet. Period.’ has posted an editorial at the Huffington Post titled Guardrails for the Internet, in which he defends his comment, and suggests that just as the interstate system needs guardrails, so too does the information superhighway. The following is pretty indicative of the article: ‘Internet users have become used to getting things when they want it and how they want it, and those of us in the entertainment business want to meet that kind of demand as efficiently and effectively as possible. But what has happened online is that if it is ‘beyond store hours’ and the shop is closed, a lot of people just smash the window and steal what they want. Freedom without restraint is chaos…..” [Also see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-lynton/guardrails-for-the-intern_b_207459.html and http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Sony-Pictures-CEO-The-Internet-Is-Stupid-102602]
How to get free HDTV The Star
Karim Sunderani flicks through channels on a 40-inch high-definition flat panel television at his Mississauga electronics store, Save and Replay. The picture is crystal clear, the sound powerful. But the stunning HD images don’t come via cable or satellite. They come over the air. For free. “All you need is an antenna, just like in the old days, and an HD television with a digital tuner,” says Sunderani, adding that he has sold more than 1,000 antennas a month since March. While there aren’t any official government or industry figures, electronics stores across the GTA are reporting surges in demand for antennas, metal grids about one metre by half a metre with several protruding spokes. No technical savvy needed just plug into the back of your HD TV and enjoy as many as 18 high-def channels. And not a cent goes to the cable companies. [Comments: The telco's want that changed for sure. Ask Bell, who filed with the CRTC to have people to be forced to buy their set-top box.]
Camera grid to log number plates BBC
A national network of cameras and computers automatically logging car number plates will be in place within months, the BBC has learned. Thousands of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras are already operating on Britain’s roads. Police forces across England, Wales and Scotland will soon be able to share the information on one central computer. Officers say it is a useful tool in fighting crime, but critics say the network is secretive and unregulated. Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, whose job it is to protect personal data, has concerns about the lack of regulation. He said: “There’s very little monitoring. I mean, my office has very limited powers. “We have very limited resources. We are not actively monitoring that area. You’re right to ask the question. No one’s checking it at the moment”
WSB-TV removed expose of US Humane Society, 14 May 2009 WikiLeaks
On May 14, 2009, WSB-TV in Atlanta (an ABC affiliate) aired a provocative investigative piece detailing how the Humane Society of the United States (The HSUS) solicits donations from Americans who believe they’re funding pet shelters. Instead, WSB reported, the HSUS spends the money lobbying and doesn’t operate a single pet shelter anywhere. Most controversially, the HSUS hasn’t accounted for most of the money it raised after Hurricane Katrina, funds collected ostensibly to help reunite lost pets with their owners. Shortly after this piece aired, WSB-TV removed it from its website. Other versions of the story quickly disappeared from YouTube after The HSUS made legal threats related to being publicly exposed. The full segment tells a story about a greedy animal protection group that doesn’t appear to behave in a manner consistent with its public image.
Verizon Threatens Massachusetts DslReports
We’ve frequently discussed how AT&T and Verizon have lobbied hard to pass laws that strip video authority from towns and cities, under the premise of speeding up telcoTV deployment and promoting competition. Unfortunately, many of these bills are little more than rubber-stamped wish lists for the carriers that erode eminent domain rights, strip all authority from local government, eliminate consumer protections and gut public access funding. After selling much of New England because they didn’t think it was profitable, Verizon is now pushing franchise “reform” in Massachusetts, using broadband investment funds and the recession as a political threat: “Ellen M. Cummings, a spokeswoman for Verizon, said that with the struggling economy, the company has to choose where to commit its financial resources. Therefore, it is looking for the quickest return on its investment”. The problem has been that these bills frequently do virtually nothing for the consumer and are primarily aimed at legalizing broadband deployment cherry picking.
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