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Is Google Building a Floating Data Center In San Francisco Bay? 115

snydeq writes "CNET's Daniel Terdiman investigates an oversize secret project Google is constructing on San Francisco's Treasure Island, which according to one expert may be a sea-faring data center. 'Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google's fingerprints are all over it,' Terdiman writes. 'Whether the structure is in fact a floating data center is hard to say for sure, of course, since Google's not talking. But Google, understandably, has a history of putting data centers in places with cheap cooling, as well as undertaking odd and unexpected projects like trying to bring Internet access to developing nations via balloons and blimps.'"

Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week 375

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. Now Sam Sanders reports at NPR that less than a week after getting their iPads, high school students have found a way to bypass software blocks on the devices that limit what websites the students can use. The students are getting around software that lets school district officials know where the iPads are, what the students are doing with them at all times and lets the district block certain sites, such as social media favorites like Facebook. 'They were bound to fail,' says Renee Hobbs, who's been a skeptic of the iPad program from the start. 'There is a huge history in American education of being attracted to the new, shiny, hugely promising bauble and then watching the idea fizzle because teachers weren't properly trained to use it and it just ended up in the closet.' The rollout of the iPads might have to be delayed as officials reassess access policies. Right now, the program is still in Phase 1, with fewer than 15,000 iPads distributed. 'I'm guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,' says Steven Zipperman. 'I want to prevent a "runaway train" scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.' The incident has prompted questions about overall preparations for the $1-billion tablet initiative."

Brazilian Schoolchildren Tagged By Computer Chips 288

New submitter writes with an AP story, and extracts from it: "'Grade-school students in a northeastern Brazilian city are using uniforms embedded with computer chips that alert parents if they are cutting classes, the city's education secretary, Coriolano Moraes, said Thursday.' Personally I don't find this too inspiring. Mr. Orwell certainly has warned the world about this."

The Vortex Gun Coming Soon To a Protest Near You 295

An anonymous reader writes "Vortex technology has been used in everything from rocket-powered fire extinguishers to Nerf guns, but neither of those things are capable of giving the beat-down to hapless protesters. By giving spinning vortices an electric charge, though, pepper spray can be sent over 150 feet at between 60 and 90 mph. A vortex gun uses a pressure wave and a carefully designed barrel to fire donut-shaped rings of air that can hold themselves together over long distances. The military (starting with the German military during World War II) has been running experiments with using vortex canons to knock things over, but it's not a particularly efficient or effective way to go. What the gas rings can be used for is transporting other gasses (like pepper spray or tear gas or pesticide) long distances with a decent amount of accuracy, holding their cargo inside the calm center spinning vortex."

Philly Answers Youth Flash Mobs With Curfew Enforcement 377

Not that it's the first city to enforce a youth curfew, and not that kids on a crime-spree is the only variety of moral panic offered as a rationale, but Philadelphia is cracking down through increased enforcement of a youth curfew law after children and teenagers attacked two people in the Center City district — attacks which, according to police, were coordinated via text messaging.

Kids Who Skip School Get Tracked By GPS 515

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from the Orange County Register: "Frustrated by students habitually skipping class, police and the Anaheim Union High School District are turning to GPS tracking to ensure they come to class. The six-week pilot program is the first in California to test GPS. Seventh- and eighth-graders with four unexcused absences or more this school year are assigned to carry a handheld GPS device, about the size of a cell phone. Five times a day, they are required to enter a code that tracks their locations – as they leave for school, when they arrive at school, at lunchtime, when they leave school and at 8 p.m."

Encrypt Your Smartphone — Or Else 304

pin0chet writes "Modern smartphones contain ever-increasing volumes of our private personal data — from text messages to images to emails — yet many smartphone security features can easily be circumvented by thieves or police officers equipped with off-the-shelf forensics equipment. Worse, thanks to a recent California Supreme Court ruling, police officers may be able to search your smartphone for hours without a warrant if you're arrested for any reason. Ars Technica has an article exploring the legal issues surrounding cell phone searches and explaining how you can safeguard your smartphone from the prying eyes of law enforcement officers."

Lighthearted Facebook Friends Could Make You Join NAMBLA Group 178

mykos writes "The Facebook groups feature is causing bit of a stir with its users. TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington was allegedly added to a group about NAMBLA, and in turn, he added Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It's all in good (albeit tasteless) fun, except when a harmless joke goes awry and you find yourself being detained by customs when a friend decided to drag you into a mock terrorist group. Facebook representatives are aware of the matter, but are dismissive of it. A Facebook spokeswoman said, 'If you have a friend that is adding you to Groups you do not want to belong to, or they are behaving in a way that bothers you, you can tell them to stop doing it, block them or remove them as a friend — and they will no longer EVER have the ability to add you to any Group.' In somewhat related news, guillotines ensure you won't have dandruff on your shoulders anymore."
Data Storage

Distinguishing Encrypted Data From Random Data? 467

gust5av writes "I'm working on a little script to provide very simple and easy to use steganography. I'm using bash together with cryptsetup (without LUKS), and the plausible deniability lies in writing to different parts of a container file. On decryption you specify the offset of the hidden data. Together with a dynamically expanding filesystem, this makes it possible to have an arbitrary number of hidden volumes in a file. It is implausible to reveal the encrypted data without the password, but is it possible to prove there is encrypted data where you claim there's not? If I give someone one file containing random data and another containing data encrypted with AES, will he be able to tell which is which?"
Social Networks

Eben Moglen Calls To Free the Cloud 173

paxcoder writes "You have been informed about Diaspora, a (to-be) distributed free social network. What you may not have known is that it was inspired by an excellent talk by Eben Moglen called 'Freedom in the Cloud.' But it doesn't stop there. At Debconf 10 this month, Moglen went further, and shared his vision of a free, private, and secure Net architecture relying on ('for lack of a better term') freedom boxes — low-price, ultra-small, plug it into the wall personal servers. He believes they will catch on since they will eventually cost less than a router, provide more functionality and freedom to the user, and even help your friends bypass any censorship by encrypting and routing their traffic. Since hardware is being taken care of, we are called to assemble the software stack. The title of this sequel talk is How We Can Be the Silver Lining of the Cloud."

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