New submitter mwissel writes "The German Federal Police ('Bundespolizei') had sent out an helicopter in late August to fly over the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt and take photos from only 60 meters height — reportedly to search for spy antennae and other espionage related equipment on the building rooftops. A government spokesmen more or less confirmed the purpose of the flight, and it is said that Merkel's chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, gave the order. This is remarkable, because Pofalla so far stood out with a very U.S.-friendly attitude in the debate around NSA surveillance programs. There was, of course, no word about any findings. It also remains unclear whether this was just plain provocation or a PR-stunt for the upcoming federal elections in Germany on September 22nd."
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Bismillah writes "Graduated response regimes that warn and then penalize users for infringing file sharing do not appear to work, new research from Monash University in Australia has found. The paper studied 'three strikes' laws (abstract, freely downloadable as a PDF from there) in France, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK, as well as other anti-filesharing regimes in the U.S. and Ireland, but found scant evidence that they're effective."
New submitter Archie Cobbs writes "Last May I encountered a relatively obscure performance bug present in both MySQL 5.5.x and MariaDB 5.5.x (not surprising since they share the same codebase). This turned out to be a great opportunity to see whether Oracle or the MariaDB project is more responsive to bug reports. On May 31 Oracle got their bug report; within 24 hours they had confirmed the bug — pretty impressive. But since then, it's been radio silence for 3 months and counting. On July 25, MariaDB got their own copy. Within a week, a MariaDB developer had analyzed the bug and committed a patch. The resulting fix will be included in the next release, MariaDB 5.5.33."
New submitter cagraham writes "The currently ad-free Instagram has announced a plan to monetize its services by selling premium placement to brands. 35 year old Emily White is in charge of making Instagram profitable, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move shows the new priorities of parent-company Facebook, who now has to worry about appeasing shareholders, as well as fending off rivals such as Twitter. Whether Instagram's young and growing user base will balk at the ads, or even notice them, remains to be seen."
msm1267 writes "Google, Yahoo and Facebook filed amended requests today with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reiterating their desire to publish numbers on requests for user data related to national security. Google, meanwhile, went a step further asking for an open, public hearing with the court so that the issue could be publicly debated." Statements from Yahoo's general counsel (filed motion [PDF]) and Facebook's general counsel (filed motion [PDF]). According to Facebook, "In recent weeks, it has become clear that the dialogue with the U.S. government that produced some additional transparency at the outset is at this point unlikely to result in more progress. As a result, today we are joining others in the industry in petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to require the government to permit companies to disclose more information about the volume and types of national security-related orders they receive."
Dave Knott writes "Sony today announced the PS Vita TV box. Measuring 6.5cm by 10.5cm, it can play Vita games on your television, stream content via HDMI or wirelessly, and play all the existing PlayStation Network content available on the standard Vita platform. This is seen by some analysts as an attempt by Sony to compete with such devices as the Ouya and Apple TV. The PS Vita TV is so far announced for a Japan-only release in early 2014 at a price of approximately $100 US. In related news, Sony also announced a lighter, slimmer, more colorful iteration of the standard Vita handheld console." The $100 model does not come with a controller; a $150 model was also announced that will include a Dualshock 3 and an 8G memory card.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Datacenters wanting to emulate Google by encrypting their data beyond the ability of the NSA to crack it may get some help from a new encryption technique that allows data to be stored, transported and even used by applications without giving away any secrets. In a paper to be presented at a major European security conference this week, researchers from Denmark and the U.K. collaborated on a practical way to implement a long-discussed encryption concept called Multi-Party Computation (MPC). The idea behind MPC is to allow two parties who have to collaborate on an analysis or computation to do so without revealing their own data to the other party. Though the concept was introduced in 1982, ways to accomplish it with more than two parties, or with standardized protocols and procedures, has not become practical in commercial environments. The Danish/British team revamped an MPC protocol nicknamed SPDZ (pronounced 'speeds'), which uses secret, securely generated keys to distribute a second set of keys that can be used for MPC encryptions. The big breakthrough, according to Smart, was to streamline SPDZ by reducing the number of times global MAC keys had to be calculated in order to create pairs of public and private keys for other uses. By cutting down on repetitive tasks, the whole process becomes much faster; because the new technique keeps global MAC keys secret, it should also make the faster process more secure."
upontheturtlesback writes "As part of developing the next open source science tricorder model, Dr. Peter Jansen of the Tricorder project has released the source to an inexpensive 3D printable visible spectrometer prototype intended for the next science tricorder, but also suitable for Arduino or other embedded electronics projects for science education. With access to a Makerbot-class 3D printer, the spectrometer can be build for about $20 in materials. The source files including hardware schematics, board layouts, Arduino/Processing sketches and example data are available on Thingiverse, and potential contributors are encouraged to help improve the spectrometer design."
schliz writes "A team of scientists from Japan and New Zealand have helped baker's yeast live 50% longer than usual by artificially stabilizing a genetic sequence called ribosomal DNA. The study's authors say that rDNA is a 'hot spot for production of the aging signal.' Because rDNA genes are very similar in yeast and humans, they say their experiment is a first step towards anti-aging drugs."
hackingbear writes "Harvard sociologist Gary King has just completed two studies that peer into the Chinese censorship machine — including a field experiment within China that was conducted with extraordinary secrecy. Together, the studies refute popular intuitions about what Chinese censors are after. He found that the censors actually permit 'vitriolic criticism' of China's leaders and governmental policies but the censors crack down heavily on any move to get people physically mobilized to act on such criticism. In a related development, China's top court issued a ruling on Monday to threaten a 3-year sentence for people posting online rumors viewed by 5,000 internet users or reposted more than 500 times. Though, in the same ruling, the court also clarified that a person reposting false rumor should not be punished if he or she does not clearly know the information is false, even if real harm is done. "
Zothecula writes "After a 70-year absence, it appears that a new rigid frame airship will soon be taking to the skies over California. Aeros Corporation, a company based near San Diego, has received experimental airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin flight testing the Aeroscraft airship, and it appears that the company has wasted no time getting started."
An anonymous reader writes "The first round of the Mars One Astronaut Selection Program has now closed for applications. In the 5 month application period, Mars One received interest from 202,586 people from around the world, wanting to be amongst the first human settlers on Mars."
cold fjord writes "ZDNet reports, 'Seagate on Monday took the wraps off a hard drive designed for tablets that brings 7x the storage capacity of a 64GB device with the same performance as a Flash drive. The drive, the Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD, uses software to boost performance. The idea is that Android tablet manufacturers will use the Seagate drive, along with the company's mobile enablement kit and caching software, to up the storage. The 2.5-inch drive is 5 mm thin and weighs 3.3 ounces. As for capacity, the drive has 500GB---enough for 100,000 photos and 125,000 songs.' More at The Wall Street Journal."
benrothke writes "It has been about 8 years since my friend Richard Bejtlich's (note, that was a full disclosure 'my friend') last book Extrusion Detection: Security Monitoring for Internal Intrusions came out. That and his other 2 books were heavy on technical analysis and real-word solutions. Some titles only start to cover ground after about 80 pages of introduction. With this highly informative and actionable book, you are already reviewing tcpdump output at page 16. In The Practice of Network Security Monitoring: Understanding Incident Detection and Response, Bejtlich takes the approach that your network will be attacked and breached. He observes that a critical part of your security posture must be that of network security monitoring (NSM), which is the collection and analysis of data to help you detect and respond to intrusions." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The iPhone 5S line has already begun, despite Apple not even having made its announcement yet. From the looks of the invite to the unveiling in San Francisco on Sept. 10 (and another event the following day in Beijing, where iPhones are all the rage), the company will not only be announcing a next generation iPhone, the 5S, but also the lower-priced 5C model, in a variety of cheaper-looking colors."