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+ - Ed Snowden leaves Hong Kong for Moscow 3

Submitted by hazeii
hazeii (5702) writes "Ed Snowden, the US whistleblower responsible for exposing the degree to which the US watches its own citizens (as well as the rest of the world) is reported as having left Hong Kong for Moscow. According to the South China Morning Post, he is on a commercial flight to Russia but intriguingly it seems this is not his final destination. It's not clear whether this move is in response to the US request to extradite him."

+ - US Hacked Chinese University Network 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reports that Tsinghua University, widely regarded as the mainland’s top education and research institute, was the target of extensive hacking by US spies this year, according to information leaked by Edward Snowden. The information also showed that the attacks on Tsinghua University were intensive and concerted efforts. In one single day of January, at least 63 computers and servers in Tsinghua University have been hacked by the NSA. The university is home to one of the mainland’s six major backbone networks, the China Education and Research Network (CERNET) from where internet data from millions of Chinese citizens could be mined. Universities in Hong Kong and the mainland were revealed as targets of NSA’s cyber-snooping activities last week when Snowden claimed the Chinese University of Hong Kong had been hacked."

+ - NSA Whistleblower Break Cover in Hong Kong->

Submitted by DavidGilbert99
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Edward Snowden, the ex-NSA employee who leaked the Prism files last week has stuck his head above water having gone into hiding on Monday, saying he is "neither traitor nor hear. I'm an American." Speaking to the South China Morning Post he said he chose Hong Kong as his base not to "hide from justice" but to "reveal criminality""
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+ - Snowden's Big Truth: We Are All Less Free->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "In the days since stories based on classified information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hit the headlines, a string of reports and editorials claim that he had his facts wrong, accuse him of treason – or both. Others have accused journalists like Glen Greenwald of The Guardian of rushing to print before they had all the facts.

All of these criticisms could be valid. Technology firms may not have given intelligence agencies unfettered and unchecked access to their users' data. Edward Snowden may be, as the New York Times's David Brooks suggests, one of those 20-something-men leading a "life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society." All those critiques may be true without undermining the larger truth of Snowden's revelation: in an age of global, networked communications and interactions, we are all a lot less free than we thought we were.

I say this because nobody has seriously challenged the basic truth of Snowden's leak: that many of the world's leading telecommunications and technology firms are regularly divulging information about their users' activities and communications to law enforcement and intelligence agencies based on warrantless requests and court reviews that are hidden from public scrutiny.

It hasn't always been so. In 1877, the U.S. Supreme Court, weighing the government's ability to inspect the content of letters sent via the postal service, found that "No law of Congress can place in the hands of officials connected with the postal service any authority to invade the secrecy of letters and such sealed packages in the mail; and all regulations adopted as to mail matter of this kind must be in subordination to the great principle embodied in the fourth amendment of the Constitution." That's why all of us understand that exercising the convenience of dropping a letter in the corner post office box doesn't mean that we also consent to the government ripping open that letter and read its contents.

Sadly, we've been steadily conditioned to think differently about our electronic communications. We've been asked by both private sector firms and our government to accept a false choice: that there must be some bargain – a tradeoff between privacy and convenience."

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Science

+ - nanostructured semiconductor alloy crystals heat to be manipulated like light->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A new technique allows allows thermocrystals to be created that can manipulate heat (a vibration of the atomic lattice of a material). Predicted manipulations include the ability to selectively transmit / reflect or concentrate heat much like light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors. Applications range from better thermoelectric devices to switchable heat insulating/transmitting materials etc. Perhaps this will result in better cooling/heating mechanisms or more efficient engines."
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Iphone

+ - Phil Schiller puts damper on cheap iPhone rumors->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A number of media outlets this week issued reports claiming that Apple is planning to release a more economical iPhone model sometime in 2013. While the initial report from Digitimes may have been glossed over by many, subsequent reports were soon published by both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. The thrust of these rumors was that Apple, in an effort to make inroads in emerging markets and to appeal to more cost-conscious consumers, was working on a iPhone model in the $99-$149 range that would utilize cheaper materials so that Apple could maintain its already healthy profit margins.

Addressing these rumors in a somewhat roundabout way, Apple's Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller on Thursday was interviewed by the Shanghai Evening News where he arguably dismissed the notion of a cheaper iPhone."

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EU

+ - EU Antitrust Chief: Google "Diverting Traffic" & Will Be Forced To Change->

Submitted by Dupple
Dupple (1016592) writes "It looks like the EU is coming close to a decision regarding its investigation of Google according to the FT and Search Engine Land

While saying he’s “still investigating,” the head of the European Union’s antitrust regulatory body has told the Financial Times that he’s convinced Google is “diverting traffic” and that it will be forced to change its results.

From the FT interview:

“We are still investigating, but my conviction is [Google] are diverting traffic,” Mr Almunia told the Financial Times, referring to Google’s preferential treatment of its own vertical search services.

That’s Joaquin Almunia, who has been leading the EU’s investigation into charges that Google is acting anti-competitively with its search listings. Alumnia also said he felt there was an “abuse” of Google’s dominant position in search."

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Encryption

+ - New 25 GPU Monster Devours Strong Passwords in Minutes-> 1

Submitted by
chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy writes "A presentation at the Passwords^12 Conference in Oslo, Norway (slides: https://hashcat.net/p12/), has moved the goalposts on password cracking yet again. Speaking on Monday, researcher Jeremi Gosney (a.k.a epixoip) demonstrated a rig that leveraged the Open Computing Language (OpenCL) framework and a technology known as Virtual Open Cluster (VCL) to run the HashCat password cracking program across a cluster of five, 4U servers equipped with 25 AMD Radeon GPUs communicating at 10 Gbps and 20 Gbps over Infiniband switched fabric.

Gosney’s system elevates password cracking to the next level, and effectively renders even the strongest passwords protected with weaker encryption algorithms, like Microsoft’s LM and NTLM, obsolete.

In a test, the researcher’s system was able to generate 348 billion NTLM password hash checks per second. That renders even the most secure password vulnerable to compute-intensive brute force and wordlist (or dictionary) attacks. A 14 character Windows XP password hashed using LM for example, would fall in just six minutes, said Per Thorsheim, organizer of the Passwords^12 Conference.

For some context: In June, Poul-Henning Kamp, creator of the md5crypt() function used by FreeBSD and other Linux-based operating systems was forced to acknowledge that the hashing function is no longer suitable for production use — a victim of GPU powered systems that could perform “close to 1 million checks per second on COTS (commercial off the shelf) GPU hardware,” he wrote. Gosney’s cluster cranks out more than 77 million brute force attempts per second against MD5crypt."

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+ - Ask Slashdot: Do you still need a phone at your desk?

Submitted by its a trappist!
its a trappist! (2787963) writes "When I started my career back in the early 1990s, everyone had a "business phone" phone on their desk. The phone was how your co-workers, customers, friends and family got in touch with you during the business day. It had a few features that everyone used — basic calling, transfer, hold, mute, three-way calling (if you could figure it out). This was before personal mobile phones or corporate IM, so the phone was basically the one and only means of real-time communication in the office.

Flash forward 20 years. Today I have a smart phone, corporate IM, several flavors of personal IM, the Skype client and several flavors of collaboration software including Google Apps/Docs, GoToMeeting. My wife and daughter call me or text me on the cell phone. My co-workers who are too lazy or passive aggressive to wander into my office use IM. My brother in Iraq uses Skype. I use GoToMeeting and its built-in VoIP with customers. The big black phone sits there gathering dust. I use it for conference calls a few times each month.

I'm sure that there are sales people out there who would rather give up a body part than their trusty office phone, but do any of the rest of us need them? Around here, the younger engineers frequently unplug them and stick them in a cabinet to free up desk space. Are the days of the office phone (and the office phone system) at an end?"
Mars

+ - Over 1000 volunteers for 'suicide' mission to Mars-> 1

Submitted by thAMESresearcher
thAMESresearcher (2735729) writes "The Dutch company Mars One is organizing a one way mission to Mars 2023. In a press release that came out today, they say they have over a thousand applicants already.
In the press release they also mention that they are now a nor-for-profit Foundation.
It sounds ambitious, but they have a Nobel prize winner, an astronaut and several people from NASA on their board."

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Japan

+ - Japan set to punish illegal downloads->

Submitted by Dupple
Dupple (1016592) writes "Such activity has been illegal since 2010, but until now had not invoked the penalties.

In theory the new download punishments can be enforced if a user is found to have copied a single pirated file.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan had pushed for the move, suggesting that illegal media downloads outnumbered legal ones by about a factor of 10.

The figure is based on a 2010 study which suggested that people in the country downloaded about 4.36 billion illegally pirated music and video files and 440 million purchased ones that year."

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Earth

+ - Embryonic stem cell research around the globe->

Submitted by
ericjones12398
ericjones12398 writes "In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted former President George Bush’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research utilizing new sources of embryonic cells. Unfortunately, since President Obama lifted the ban, the federal government has been embroiled in an exhaustive court battle over the fate of embryonic stem cell research. Since the court is not expected to reach a decision for several months, the future of federal funding for embryonic stem is uncertain. Yet how is embryonic stem cell research looking for the rest of the world? Is the future of embryonic stem cell research bright, or is the rest of the world also embedded in a long ethical debate? Is the United States being hampered by it embryonic stem cell policies?
While there have been many ethical debates about embryonic stem cell research across the globe, many developed nations, especially in Western Europe, have taken full advantage of new embryonic cells lines since 2005. This was illustrated in a map created by William Hoffman from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota, which highlights countries with flexible embryonic stem cell research policies. While a 2010 map takes President Barack Obama’s executive order into account, most countries have been developing and federally funding new sources of stem cells for half a decade before the United States."

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The Almighty Buck

+ - How the Syrian Games Industry Crumbled Under Sanctions and Violence->

Submitted by
Fluffeh
Fluffeh writes "Syria's games industry now looks like just another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power. "Life for Syrian game developers has never been better," joked Falafel Games founder Radwan Kasmiya, "You can test the action on the streets and get back to your desktop to script it on your keyboard." Any momentum Syria may have been building as a regional game development hub slowed considerably in 2004, when then-US President George W. Bush levied economic sanctions against the country. Under the sanctions, Syria's game developers found themselves cut off from investment money they needed to grow, as well as from other relationships that were just as important as cash. "Any [closure of opportunity] is devastating to a budding games company as global partnerships are completely hindered," said Rawan Sha'ban of the Jordanian game development company Quirkat. "Even at the simplest infrastructure level, game development engines [from the US] cannot be purchased in a sanctioned country.""
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Music

+ - What Various Studies Really Reveal About File-Sharing->

Submitted by Dangerous_Minds
Dangerous_Minds (1869682) writes "Drew Wilson of ZeroPaid has an interesting look at file-sharing. It all started with a review of a Phoenix study that was used to promote SOPA. Wilson says that the study was long on wild claims and short on fact. While most writers would simply criticize the study and move on, Wilson took it a step further and looked in to what file-sharing studies have really been saying throughout the years. What he found was an impressive 20 studies which 19 wasn't previously covered. He launched a large series detailing what these studies have to say on file-sharing. The first study suggests that file-sharing litigation was a failure. The second study said that p2p has no effect on music sales. The third study found that the RIAA suppresses innovation. The fourth study says that the MPAA has simply been trying to preserve its oligopoly. The fifth study says that even when one uses the methodology of one download means one lost sale, the losses amount to less than $2 per album. The studies, so far, are being posted on a daily basis and are certainly worth the read."
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